Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drinking Tap Water Disinfected With Chlorine May Harm Fetus, Study Suggests

Date:
June 5, 2008
Source:
BioMed Central/Environmental Health
Summary:
Drinking water disinfected by chlorine while pregnant may increase the risk of having children with heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects, according to a new study.

Drinking water disinfected by chlorine while pregnant may increase the risk of having children with heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects, according to a study published  in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health.

This finding, based on an analysis of nearly 400,000 infants in Taiwan, is the first that links by-products of water chlorination to three specific birth defects.

Water chlorination is a widely used and efficient method to disinfect drinking water and reduce the occurrence of waterborne diseases. However, numerous studies have revealed the presence of many chlorination by-products in the water. Recent research suggests that prenatal exposure to these by-products may increase the risk of birth defects.

A research team led by Jouni Jaakkola from the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Birmingham, UK, gathered data on almost 400,000 infants born in Taiwan. The researchers used statistical analyses to see if drinking tap water containing high, medium or low levels of chlorination by-products increased the risk of 11 common birth defects.

Although the researchers found no direct link between the prevalence of any birth defect and the level of exposure, their calculations revealed that exposure to high levels of by-products substantially increased the risk of three common defects: ventricular septal defects (holes in the heart), cleft palate, and anencephalus (where neural development fails, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp).

Exposure to total trihalomethanes above 20 ėg/L was associated with an increased risk of 50 to 100% compared with levels below 5 ėg/L. These results were corroborated by additional analyses, using pooled data from a number of similar studies.

"The biological mechanism for how these disinfection by-products may cause defects are still unknown," says Jaakkola. "However, our findings don't just add to the evidence that water chlorination may cause birth defects, but suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products may be responsible some specific and common defects. Whilst the benefits of water chlorination are quite evident, more research needs to be carried out to determine these side-effects."

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central/Environmental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bing-Fang Hwang, Jouni JK Jaakkola and How-Ran Guo. Water disinfection by-products and the risk of specific birth defects: A population-based cross-sectional study in Taiwan. Environmental Health, 2 June 2008

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central/Environmental Health. "Drinking Tap Water Disinfected With Chlorine May Harm Fetus, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602103343.htm>.
BioMed Central/Environmental Health. (2008, June 5). Drinking Tap Water Disinfected With Chlorine May Harm Fetus, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602103343.htm
BioMed Central/Environmental Health. "Drinking Tap Water Disinfected With Chlorine May Harm Fetus, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602103343.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins