Birth study in jeopardy
Health Canada reviewing study on toxic hot spots and birth outcomes
By Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Thursday, July 7, 2003
It will be a few more weeks before Health Canada decides
if it will continue a study aimed at determining if
toxic hot spots are linked to adverse birth outcomes in
In April, the federal department told Joint Action Group
members that scientists working on the project were
having difficulty reaching targets. The biggest obstacle
was a shortage of pregnant women willing to participate
in the study.
Tracey Taweel, spokesperson for the project, said
government is reviewing the information gathered before
making a final decision.
The study had four objectives:
First, it would determine if the incidence of adverse
early-pregnancy outcomes (pre-20 weeks) is higher in the
Sydney area than in an appropriate control area, such as
Pictou County. Scientists planned to come to this
conclusion by using medical records provided by local
physicians in keeping with patients' confidentiality.
Second, it would measure the concentrations of
contaminants in pregnant women, their newborns' cord
blood and the placenta, and to test for evidence of
endocrine disruption and contaminant exposure.
Third, to assess values, perceptions and behaviours
relating to fertility expectations, conception,
pregnancy outcomes and their environment.
Fourth, to integrate and analyze the results of the
study, explore implications and evaluate the issue of
reproductive health in the Sydney community.