-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A common herbicide called
atrazine may be associated with a rare birth defect of the nasal
cavity, a new study suggests.
Atrazine -- the most widely used herbicide in the United States,
particularly in corn crops -- is believed to be an endocrine
disruptor, which means that it may interfere with the hormone
system in humans.
The new study looked at the link between atrazine and choanal
atresia, a birth defect in which tissue formed during fetal
development blocks the back of the nasal passage. The condition
affects a baby's ability to breathe. Surgery is the typical
Although few risk factors for choanal atresia have been
identified, it's believed that chemicals that disrupt a mother's
hormone system may be associated with the risk, according to study
author Philip Lupo, an assistant professor of pediatrics --
hematology/oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas
Children's Cancer Center.
He and his colleagues found that mothers who lived in Texas
counties with the highest levels of atrazine use were 80 percent
more likely to have children with choanal atresia -- or a less
severe form of the condition called choanal stenosis -- than those
in counties with the lowest levels of atrazine use.
"Our results warrant more detailed exploration before any public health or policy-related recommendations are made, but this study is a good first step in trying to understand the origin of this birth defect, including a possible role of atrazine," Lupo said in a Baylor news release.
The study appears Sept. 28 in the
Journal of Pediatrics.
While the study found an association between the herbicide
atrazine and the birth defect choanal atresia, it did not prove
The Children's Choanal Atresia Foundation has more about
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