Adverse pregnancy outcomes in relation to water consumption: a re-analysis of data from the original Santa Clara County Study, California, 1980-1981

Epidemiology. 1992 Mar;3(2):94-7. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199203000-00005.


Residents of a census tract that received drinking water from a well contaminated with solvents were previously shown to experience a spontaneous abortion rate over twice that occurring in an unexposed census tract. In addition, the rate of birth defects in the exposed tract was three times that in the unexposed tract. Surprisingly, increased tapwater consumption was associated with higher rates of spontaneous abortions in both the exposed and the unexposed tracts. Subsequent studies in this area have investigated the relation between spontaneous abortions and consumption of tapwater in more detail. In this report, data from the original study have been re-analyzed using methods comparable with those used in more recent studies. These results confirm the association between spontaneous abortions and reported cold tapwater consumption that was seen in the original study. The observed effect was not due to maternal risk factors, nor was it a function of consumption of bottled water. After controlling for bottled water, the odds ratio for consumption of tapwater was 3.4 (95% confidence interval = 0.6-19.4).

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Bias
  • California / epidemiology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Solvents / analysis
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / adverse effects*
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / analysis


  • Solvents