A case-control study of pesticides and fetal death due to congenital anomalies

Epidemiology. 2001 Mar;12(2):148-56. doi: 10.1097/00001648-200103000-00005.


We examined the association between late fetal death due to congenital anomalies (73 cases, 611 controls) and maternal residential proximity to pesticide applications in ten California counties. A statewide database of all applications of restricted pesticides was linked to maternal address to determine daily exposure status. We examined five pesticide chemical classes. The odds ratios from logistic regression models, adjusted for maternal age and county, showed a consistent pattern with respect to timing of exposure; the largest risks for fetal death due to congenital anomalies were from pesticide exposure during the 3rd-8th weeks of pregnancy. For exposure either in the square mile of the maternal residence or in one of the adjacent 8 square miles, odds ratios ranged from 1.4 (95% confidence interval = 0.8-2.4) for phosphates, carbamates, and endocrine disruptors to 2.2 (95% confidence interval = 1.3-3.9) for halogenated hydrocarbons. Similar odds ratios were observed when a more restrictive definition of nonexposure (not exposed to any of the five pesticide classes during the 3rd-8th weeks of pregnancy) was used. The odds ratios for all pesticide classes increased when exposure occurred within the same square mile of maternal residence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Death / etiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Maternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Pesticides