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July 26, 2021

Certain careers linked with risk of passing along birth defects

So much of our lives are defined by work.

We work in banking, we stress over Financial Post headlines. We work in landscaping, our hands show the days of our labour.

But it isn’t just our  lives, in fact, that the workplace affects.

According to a new report in a British medical journal, certain careers are more often linked than others with birth defects passed onto children.

Using data from, oddly, the U.S. National Birth Defects Prevention Study, the English journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine  obtained the job histories of some 1,000 dads who had a child with one or more birth defects between 1997 and 2004.

*Bing: The world’s most dangerous jobs

The journal’s report also used interviews with about 4,000 fathers with children born in that time with no birth defects.

Next, the report tracked the jobs each father had worked in during the three months prior, and one month after, conception, the time considered to be the critical period for a baby to be damaged by his father’s sperm.

The following are among careers linked with an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect: mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, artists, photographers and photo processors, sawmill operatives, printers, those working in chemical industries and those working with petrol and gas.

In fairness, the list is much longer and you’d be tempted to dismiss the results. After all, every job can’t carry an increased risk of passing along a birth defect, can it?

It can’t, and many jobs – architects, dentists, firefighters, painters, soldiers, etc. – carry no such links, the report notes. Though the study does make some sense in connecting specific birth defects to specific careers.

According to the study, for instance, fathers who are artists have an increased risk of passing along mouth, eyes and ears, gut, limbs and heart defects to their children. Photographers and photo processors have an increased risk of passing along cataracts, glaucoma or other eye defects.

Click here to see the full release, and to see if your career is listed as at risk.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

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