Congenital defects

treating drinking tap water with chlorine makes it bacteria-free. But its by-products may increase the risk of abnormalities among newborns, says a recent study. Researchers studied data on 400,000 infants in Taiwan and by products of chlorine in the water separately from 2001-03. Using these two sets of data, the researchers assessed exposure in mothers who were expecting.
Of the 400,000 infants, 0.5 per cent cases had one or several birth defects, said researchers of the study jointly conducted by China Medical University, National Chung Kung University and Diwan College of Management in Taiwan and University of Birmingham, uk.
They also compared the risk of 11 common birth defects with exposure to high, medium or low levels of the by-product total trihalomethane (tthm). Results showed that exposure to high levels of tthm substantially increased the risk of three common defects: holes in the heart (ventricular septal defect), cleft palate and failure of neural development resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp. Exposure above 20