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Stillbirths in relation to the coastline of Cumbria, 1950-89

Lookup NU author(s): Trevor Dummer, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Dr Heather Dickinson, M Charlton, Dr Jane Salotti, Professor Louise Parker


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The nuclear installation at Sellafield, in west Cumbria in the north of England, has discharged radioactive waste into the Irish Sea since 1952. The objective of this paper was to investigate whether women living near to the coast in Cumbria had an increased risk of having stillborn children. A retrospective cohort analysis was carried out using all 259 050 births (4017 stillbirths) to women normally resident in Cumbria during 1950-89, allowing for year of birth, social class and birth order using (i) comparison of observed and expected numbers of stillbirths in distance bands relative to the coast, (ii) comparison of cumulative observed and expected numbers of stillbirths by distance from the coast, and (iii) logistic regression analysis of stillbirth risk in relation to distance from the coast. Comparison of observed and expected numbers of stillbirths in distance bands within 10 km of the coast did not provide evidence of an excess risk of stillbirth closer to the coast. The comparison of the cumulative observed and expected numbers of stillbirths within 10 km of the coast supported this result. Logistic regression analysis of all births in Cumbria showed that distance from the coast did not significantly influence stillbirth risk (P > 0.05). There was no evidence to suggest an increased risk of stillbirth in mothers resident nearer to the coast.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dummer TJB, Pearce MS, Dickinson HO, Charlton ME, Salotti J, Parker L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology

Year: 1999

Volume: 13

Issue: 2

Pages: 131-137

ISSN (print): 0269-5022

ISSN (electronic): 1365-3016


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3016.1999.00169.x


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