Paternal Occupation and Birth Defects
The etiology of many birth defects among humans is not well understood, with most of the epidemiologic and laboratory research focusing on maternal factors. It has been stated that approximately 60% of all human birth defects have no known cause (Kalter and Warkany, 1983). The potential role of paternal exposures has not been extensively investigated. This has been due, in part, to the prevailing view that male-mediated developmental effects are unlikely (Brown, 1985). However, recent laboratory and epidemiologic investigations have reinforced earlier animal data suggesting that paternal exposures may be more important than previously suspected. The published literature on paternal occupational exposures and the risk of birth defects in offspring will be reviewed in this chapter.
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