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National Public Health Research Week, UNMC

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Evidences that agrichemicals might be associated with the incidence of birth defects are inconsistent.


  • Examine whether Triazine, Acetanilide, Carbamothioate, Nitrate, Trifluralin and Uracil present in well-water are associated with birth defect rates in Nebraska Counties
  • Identify the well types contaminated with these pesticides.


Birth defects data obtained from Nebraska Department of Human and Health Services were merged with data on wells tested for agrichemicals obtained from Quality-Assessed Agrichemical Contaminant Database for Nebraska Ground Water. The 33 contaminants sampled from the wells were sub classified into 6 predictors and expressed as percentages for analysis in a multiple regression model with birth defect rates as the response variable. The pesticides sampled from the wells were also categorized into parent and degradate to examine the nature of pesticide associated with birth defects. Due to multicollinearity, triazine, acetanilide and trifluralin were summed together.


The percentage for triazine and nitrate in domestic wells were 10.6% and 21.5% respectively. Birth defect rates were discovered to correlate with triazine (r= 0.21 p=0.041). triazine- acetanilide-trifluralin together was found to be linearly associated with birth defect rates in the multiple linear regression model (p=0.012). A stronger correlation was found between the parent contaminants and birth defect rates(r=0.22 p=0.034) than the degradate. (r=0.15 p=0.163).


This study suggests an association between birth defect and percent of wells positive for agrichemical compounds. However, this association does not imply causation but provides direction for future investigation.


Public Health

An Analysis of Correlation Between Agrichemical Contaminated Wells and Birth Defects in Nebraska

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