Reproductive outcomes of mothers with potential exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

Am J Epidemiol. 1988 Aug;128(2):410-9. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a114981.


Animal laboratory studies have demonstrated that 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has fetotoxic and teratogenic effects at low doses. TCDD contamination of soil in nine residential areas of eastern Missouri began in 1971 when several horse arenas and dirt roads were sprayed for dust control with a mixture that contained waste oil and dioxin. The authors conducted an epidemiologic investigation to determine if adverse human reproductive outcomes are associated with exposure to soil contaminated with dioxin. The authors attempted to identify all births during the period of January 1, 1972 through December 31, 1982 that had potential exposure to dioxin, based on proximity of the maternal address to a location of known TCDD contamination. This group totaled 410 births. A matched set of 820 unexposed births was selected as a comparison group after being matched for maternal age and race, year of birth, hospital of birth, and plurality. The exposed group had increased risk ratios for infant, fetal, and perinatal death; low birth weight; and several subcategories of birth defects. None of these increased risk ratios for the exposed group were statistically significant. These results do not provide evidence that TCDD exposure has a substantial impact on the reproductive outcomes investigated. If TCDD does produce effects on reproductive health, a larger study and/or better measures of exposure may be needed to discover them.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Dioxins / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / chemically induced
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Missouri
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Soil Pollutants / adverse effects*


  • Dioxins
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Soil Pollutants