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Dad's job linked to birth defects in kids

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina examined data from the US National Birth Defects Prevention Study and found that paternal occupations like artists, photographers, hairdressers, mathematicians and office support workers were associated with birth defects in children, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The researchers obtained the career histories of around 1,000 men who had fathered a child with one or more birth defects born between 1997 and 2004. This data was compared with information from 4,000 men whose children did not have congenital abnormalities.

They used a mathematical model for their analysis, they classified the jobs into 63 groups based on assumed exposure to chemicals or other potential hazards.

Over two-thirds of the jobs analysed seemed to be linked to having a child with a birth defect. A third were not associated with any increased risk at all.

These included architects and designers, healthcare professionals, dentists, firefighters, fishermen,entertainers, stonemasons, painters, train drivers, soldiers and commercial divers etc.

The study was published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Dr Andrew Olshan, of the university's North Carolina Centre for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, said some occupations were even associated with more than one defect within the same part of the anatomy.

"For example, photographers and photo-processing workers were associated with three distinct eye defects. Artists were associated with the most number of individual defects, including several eye/ear defects, oral clefts and defects of the gastrointestinal system," he was quoted as saying by the paper.

The researchers did not attempt to look at particular exposures to chemical or other potentially harmful hazards, but they said the findings reflect those of other research on fathers' roles in foetal damage.


First Published: Wed, July 18 2012. 17:06 IST