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Chlorine Might Cause Birth Defects

Drinking or even showering in tap water can double the risk of having deformed children, says study

Fiona Macrae
UK Daily Mail
June 3, 2008

Drinking tap water while pregnant may double the risk of serious heart or brain defects in the unborn child, research suggests.

A study of almost 400,000 babies found a clear link between chemicals formed during chlorination and the occurrence of a trio of birth defects.

Drinking water, showers, swimming pools and even the steam from a boiling kettle can all contain the problem chemicals called trihalomethanes, or THMs, the researchers said.

While the study was carried out in Taiwan, it is thought up to one in six British homes is exposed to levels even higher than those found to cause concern, with concentrations tending to be particularly high in the spring and autumn.

The researchers stressed it would be impractical for pregnant women to avoid tap water and said the onus was instead on the use of disinfection methods which limit levels of the chemicals.

The Birmingham University study compared details of birth defects with the level of THMs in tap water.

The analysis of almost 400,000 babies showed those born into regions where levels were around 80 per cent more likely to have a hole-in-the-heart defect and more than 50 per cent more likely to have a cleft palate.

Read Full Article Here

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