Parental occupation and birth outcome in an agricultural community

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1986 Feb;12(1):51-4. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.2180.


The general birth outcome and prevalence of specific birth defects was investigated within an agricultural community through the review of birth records in a major hospital in Imperial County, California. Of all singleton births (N = 2 463) occurring within a four-year period, 990 or 40.2% involved offspring with one or both parent(s) who were agricultural workers. The progeny of agricultural and nonagricultural workers were similar with regard to sex ratios, prevalence of low birth-weight infants, stillbirth rate, minor and major malformation rates, and prevalence of neonatal deaths. Limb reduction defects, however, occurred more frequently among offspring of agricultural workers (5.05 per 1 000 total births versus 2.19 per 1 000 total births, rate ratio = 2.3). Furthermore, the prevalence of limb reduction defects among agricultural workers was 3- to 14-fold higher than available United States rates (0.36-1.65 per 1 000 total births). Findings from our study suggest that agricultural communities and, in particular, agricultural workers may be at excess risk of producing a child with a limb reduction defect.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Agriculture*
  • California
  • Chromosome Aberrations / epidemiology
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Occupations*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Rural Population