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An Investigation of Unexplained Infant Deaths in Houses Contaminated with Methyl Parathion

Annemarie Wasley, Lisa A. Lepine, Roland Jenkins and Carol Rubin
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 110, Supplement 6 (Dec., 2002), pp. 1053-1056
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3455683
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
An Investigation of Unexplained Infant Deaths in Houses Contaminated with Methyl Parathion
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Abstract

In Lorain County, Ohio, unexplained infant deaths in homes sprayed with methyl parathion (MP), an organophosphate (OP) pesticide, prompted an investigation to determine whether infants living in treated homes are at higher risk for unexplained death. A case was defined as any death of an infant (≤ 12 months of age) in Lorain County between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 1994, attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other unknown natural causes. For each case infant, birth certificate data were used to identify two control infants matched with regard to date of birth, sex, city of residence, and maternal race and educational level. Wipe samples from the home address listed on the birth certificate of control infants or the death certificate of case infants were analyzed for MP. Birth certificates provided additional risk factor information. The relationship between MP contamination and unexplained death was analyzed by exact conditional logistic regression. Wipe samples were collected from the residences of 34 case infants and 72 control infants. MP ($>0.02\ {\rm mg}/100\ {\rm cm}^{2}$) was detected in five homes, three of which had been occupied by case infants. Case infants were 4.6 times more likely than control infants to have lived in MP-treated homes, but the confidence interval (CI) was wide (95% CI: 0.2, 274.7) and included 1. Maternal smoking, young maternal age, and the presence of other siblings in the family were each independently predictive of case status. In a multivariate model adjusting for these other variables and the matching variables, the estimated risk associated with MP exposure was 13.0 (95% CI: 0.2, 2685.0). Although this association was not statistically significant and should be interpreted cautiously, it suggests an increased risk for unexplained death among infants living in MP-contaminated homes. The relationship between children's health and exposure to OP pesticides including MP should be evaluated further.

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