Case-control study of maternal residential atrazine exposure and male genital malformations

Am J Med Genet A. 2013 May;161A(5):977-82. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35815. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals has been associated with risk for male genital malformations. However, residential prenatal exposure to atrazine, an endocrine disrupting pesticide, has not been evaluated. We obtained data from the Texas Birth Defects Registry for 16,433 cases with isolated male genital malformations and randomly selected, population-based controls delivered during 1999-2008. County-level estimates of atrazine exposure from the United States Geological Survey were linked to all subjects. We evaluated the relationship between estimated maternal residential atrazine exposure and risk for male genital malformations in offspring. Separate unconditional logistic regression analyses were conducted for hypospadias, cryptorchidism, and small penis. We observed modest, but consistent, associations between medium-low and/or medium levels of estimated periconceptional maternal residential atrazine exposure and every male genital malformation category evaluated (e.g., adjusted odds ratio for medium compared to low atrazine levels and all male genital malformations: 1.2, 95% confidence interval: 1.1-1.3). Previous literature from animal and epidemiological studies supports our findings. Our results provide further evidence of a suspected teratogenic role of atrazine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atrazine / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disorders of Sex Development / epidemiology*
  • Disorders of Sex Development / etiology
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Herbicides / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Herbicides
  • Atrazine