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News2001October › Landfills pose risk for birth defects › October 2001

Landfills pose risk for birth defects

Living near a landfill could raise the risk of fetal abnormalities, according to a new study

Living near a landfill could raise the risk of fetal abnormalities, according to a new study.

Researchers at Imperial College in London obtained data on eight million pregnancies between 1983 and 1998, using national databases combined with data from the UK National Congenital Anomaly System.

Analysis showed a whole range of fetal abnormalities, including neural tube and cardiovascular defects, genital abnormalities, abdominal wall defects, and very low and very high birthweights.

Some 80 per cent of the British population lives within 2 km of a known landfill. Around a third of these families are also among the lowest social classes, where poor housing, poverty and overcrowding may mean that babies in such families may not have the necessary resources to combat the toxic effects of exposure to landfills emissions (BMJ, 2001; 323: 363-8, 351-2).


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