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 µg/L was associated with an increased risk of 50 to 100% compared with levels below 5 µg/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”
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
06.12.2016 | Life Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering