Organic-solvent water pollution and low birth weight in Michigan

Soc Biol. Spring-Summer 1992;39(1-2):45-54. doi: 10.1080/19485565.1992.9988803.


This pilot study explored the association between a measure of water pollution caused by benzene or chlorinated solvents and the incidence of low birth weights for white residents of Michigan counties. A positive relationship between water pollution by these contaminants and the per cent of low-weight births (less than 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds) resulted despite controls for the incidence of teenaged childbearing, infrequent prenatal care, and mean household income from wages or salaries. Water pollution showed an association with the incidence of low birth weight that was as strong as that between low birth weight and low prenatal care. While correlation cannot prove causation, the finding suggests that impure water may impair fetal growth in Michigan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / chemically induced*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / adverse effects*


  • Solvents
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical