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Environ Epidemiol. 2021 Apr 2;5(2):e149. doi: 10.1097/EE9.0000000000000149. eCollection 2021 Apr.
Environmental pollutants have been associated with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy including gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and eclampsia, though few have focused on drinking water contamination. Water pollution can be an important source of exposures that may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes.
METHODS: We linked water quality data on 13 contaminants and two violations from the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool to birth records from vital statistics and hospital discharge records (2007-2012) to examine the relationship between drinking water contamination and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. We examined contaminants in single- and multipollutant models. Additionally, we examined if the relationship between water contamination and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy differed by neighborhood poverty, individual socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.
RESULTS: Arsenic, nitrate, trihalomethane, hexavalent chromium, and uranium were detected in a majority of water systems. Increased risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy was modestly associated with exposure to cadmium, lead, trihalomethane, and hexavalent chromium in drinking water after adjusting for covariates in single pollutant models with odds ratios ranging from 1.01 to 1.08. In multipollutant models, cadmium was consistent, lead and trihalomethane were stronger, and additional contaminants were associated with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy including trichloroethylene, 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane, nitrate, and tetrachloroethylene. Other contaminants either showed null results or modest inverse associations. The relationship between water contaminants and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy did not differ by neighborhood poverty.
CONCLUSIONS: We found increased risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy associated with exposure to several contaminants in drinking water in California. Results for cadmium, lead, trihalomethane, and hexavalent chromium were robust in multipollutant models.