A terrifying new study has found that fathers who work in certain sperm-jeopardizing fields have a higher risk of passing on birth defects to their children.
Published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the study analyzed date gathered from the U.S. National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Researchers obtained job histories from 1,000 dads with kids born with birth defects between 1997 and 2004, as well as job histories of 4,000 dads who had kids without any birth defects. The jobs were classified into 63 groups based on the chemicals or other potential hazards those men would be exposed to on the job, focusing on where fathers worked during the three months prior to conception.
According to the study's press release, fathers working in any of the following occupations were exposing their future progeny to increased risk of birth defects:
mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists; artists; photographers and photo processors; food service workers; landscapers and groundsmen; hairdressers and make-up artists; office and admin support workers; sawmill operatives; those working with petrol and gas; those working in chemical industries; printers; those operating cranes and diggers; and drivers.
Some of the jobs were also associated with specific birth defects: artist risked
imparting defects of the mouth, eyes, ears, gut, limbs, and heart;
photographers, photo processors, and drivers risked defects like
cataracts, glaucoma, and absent or inefficient eye tissue; and
landscapers risked gut abnormalities. While researchers didn't look at any specific exposure levels at which a
father's sperm would start to carry higher risks of imparting birth
defects, you might want to keep this in mind the next time or your kids might just pay the ultimate price.