Abstract

Epidemiological studies have found that maternal exposure to disinfection by-products (DBPs) may lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes although the findings tend to be inconsistent. The objective of this study was to systematically review the evidence in associated with drinking water DBP exposure in relation to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Peer-reviewed articles were identified using electronic databases searched for studies published in the English language. Studies selected for review were evaluated for exposure assessment, confounders, and analyses risks of bias in the selection, outcomes assessment, and attrition. A comprehensive search and screening yielded a total of 32 studies, of which 12 (38%) reported a statistical association between maternal exposure to DBPs and adverse pregnancy outcomes. A maternal exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) shows an increased risk of small for gestational age (SGA) and slightly increased risk of pregnancy loss. Risks of bias were low among the studies included in the review. Evidence on association relating to adverse pregnancy outcomes to DBP exposure is still less significant. There is a need for future robust research in this field, with the use of urinary trichloroacetic acid (TCAA) biomarkers as a direct exposure assessment method for this field.

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