Cover: Risk of Congenital Malformations Associated with Proximity to Hazardous Waste Sites

Risk of Congenital Malformations Associated with Proximity to Hazardous Waste Sites

Published 2004

by Sandy A. Geschwind, Jan A. J. Stolwijk, Michael B. Bracken, Edward FitzGerald, Alice Stark, Carolyn Olsen, James Melius

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback11 pages Free

Concern about environmental pollutants has increased, though it remains unclear whether chronic exposures to toxic chemicals in the environment occur at doses sufficient to produce adverse health effects in humans. In this study, reprinted from the American Journal of Epidemiology, the authors have linked two existing databases of the New York State Dept. of Health to evaluate the relation between congenital malformations and residential proximity to hazardous waste sites in New York State. A total of 9,313 newborns with congenital malformations and 17,802 healthy controls living in proximity to 590 hazardous waste sites in 1983 and 1984 were evaluated. Results indicated that maternal proximity to hazardous waste sites may carry a small additional risk of bearing children with congenital malformations (odds ratio (OR) = 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-1.18). Higher malformation rates were associated with both a higher exposure risk (no exposure risk: OR = 1.00; low exposure risk: OR = 1.09, 95% CI 1.04-1.15; high exposure risk: OR = 1.63, 95% CI 1.34-1.99) and documentation of off-site chemical leaks (not exposed: OR = 1.00; exposed, but no leaks at site: OR = 1.08, 95% CI 1.02-1.15; exposed, and leaks found at site: OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.08-1.27). The increased rates detected may be important in terms of their public health implications. Further research is necessary to strengthen causal inferences regarding the teratogenicity of waste site exposure.

Originally published in: American Journal of Epidemiology, v. 135, no. 11, 1992, pp. 1197-1207.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.