Endocrine Disruptors and Male Genital Malformations

This study aims to evaluate whether the risk of cryptorchidism or hypospadias, the most common congenital malformations of male genital system, increases after maternal exposure to any of three sources of environmental estrogens: 1) Use of birth control pills around conception; 2) dietary intake of “phytoestrogens,” which are natural substances found in soy, vegetables and other foods that can mimic estrogens; and 3) occupational exposure to chemicals such as certain pesticides used by farmers and known to have estrogenic activity. The investigators will use data from a large surveillance program of birth defects in North America, the Slone Epidemiology Center Pregnancy Health Invertiew Study (Birth Defects Study). The study interviews mothers no later than 6 months after delivery about demographic, reproductive, medical, occupational, behavioral factors, medications, and diet. The investigators plan to study around 600 infants with cryptorchidism and 1200 with hypospadias, and will compare their mothers’ exposures with data on mothers of over 10,000 infants without these conditions.

Findings from this effort will contribute to our understanding of the role, if any, played by endocrine disruptors in human birth defects. They will also help health professionals provide better advice to women, either in the form of reassurance, if no associations are found, or if some risks are identified, they can offer specific recommendations to minimize those risks.

Sonia Hernádez-Díaz, M.D., Dr.P.H., Principal Investigator
Martha M. Werler, Sc.D., Co-Investigator
Carol Louik, Sc.D., Co-Investigator
Allen A. Mitchell, M.D., Co-Investigator

Source of Funding:

Charles H. Hood Foundation

Study Period:

January 2004 to December 2005