Formaldehyde Exposure and Low Birth Weight Incidence




Laboratory of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute of Cardiology

Formaldehyde, Ozone, TSP, Low birth weight, Population-based study R. Grazuleviciene, Institute of Cardiology, Str. Sukilelliu 17, LT 3007-Kaunas, Lithuania J Occup Healthyear1998Vol40No161-67

A population-based epidemiological study was undertaken to assess the prenatal formaldehyde exposure effect on the incidence of low birth weight newborns in Kaunas area in 1994. All women in childbirth were interviewed in person about their sociodemographic characteristics, habits and reproductive and medical history. We compared 244 cases of low birth weight newborns with 4,089 controls. The comparison involved questionnaire information on 26 potential risk factors in low weight. We employed multivariate logistic regression to adjust for potential variable effects of 12 selected low birth weight risk factors. The incidence of low birth weight newborns in Kaunas was 56.2 per 1,000 live newborns. The crude risk ratio of low birth weight babies among women subjected to formaldehyde exposure was 1.68 (95% CI 1.24-2.27) and to TSP exposure was 1.59 (95% CI 1.13-2.20). The population attributable risk percentages were 14.1% and 4.9%, respectively. Adjustment for age, occupation, education, marital status, hypertonic disease, last pregnancy outcome, parents smoking, hazardous work, formaldehyde, ozone and TSP exposure decreased the formaldehyde effect, OR 1.37 (95% CI 0.90-2.09) and ozone effect, OR 1.44 (95% CI 0.47-4.41), and increased the TSP effect, OR 2.58 (95% CI 1.34-4.99). The study results indicate that among the ambient air pollutants examined TSP exposure had a statistically significant effect on low birth weight risk. Insufficient control of other environmental risk factors could have influenced the observed association


Keywords Correspondence