New Article: Pollution and amphibian limb malformation

Proximity to pollution sources and risk of amphibian limb malformation.

Authors: B Taylor, D Skelly, LK Demarchis, MD Slade, D Galusha, PM Rabinowitz

Journal: Environ Health Perspect

Year: 2005 Volume: 113 Issue: 11 Pages: 1497-501

ISSN: 0091-6765

Abstract:

“The cause of limb deformities in wild amphibian populations remains unclear, even though the apparent increase in prevalence of this condition may have implications for human health. Few studies have simultaneously assessed the effect of multiple exposures on the risk of limb deformities. In a cross-sectional survey of 5,264 hylid and ranid metamorphs in 42 Vermont wetlands, we assessed independent risk factors for nontraumatic limb malformation. The rate of nontraumatic limb malformation varied by location from 0 to 10.2%. Analysis of a subsample did not demonstrate any evidence of infection with the parasite Ribeiroia. We used geographic information system (GIS) land-use/land-cover data to validate field observations of land use in the proximity of study wetlands. In a multiple logistic regression model that included land use as well as developmental stage, genus, and water-quality measures, proximity to agricultural land use was associated with an increased risk of limb malformation (odds ratio = 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.58; p < 0.001). The overall discriminant power of the statistical model was high (C = 0.79). These findings from one of the largest systematic surveys to date provide support for the role of chemical toxicants in the development of amphibian limb malformation and demonstrate the value of an epidemiologic approach to this problem."

Abstract:

<blockquote>
"The cause of limb deformities in wild amphibian populations remains unclear, even though the apparent increase in prevalence of this condition may have implications for human health. Few studies have simultaneously assessed the effect of multiple exposures on the risk of limb deformities. In a cross-sectional survey of 5,264 hylid and ranid metamorphs in 42 Vermont wetlands, we assessed independent risk factors for nontraumatic limb malformation. The rate of nontraumatic limb malformation varied by location from 0 to 10.2%. Analysis of a subsample did not demonstrate any evidence of infection with the parasite Ribeiroia. We used geographic information system (GIS) land-use/land-cover data to validate field observations of land use in the proximity of study wetlands. In a multiple logistic regression model that included land use as well as developmental stage, genus, and water-quality measures, proximity to agricultural land use was associated with an increased risk of limb malformation (odds ratio = 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.58; p < 0.001). The overall discriminant power of the statistical model was high (C = 0.79). These findings from one of the largest systematic surveys to date provide support for the role of chemical toxicants in the development of amphibian limb malformation and demonstrate the value of an epidemiologic approach to this problem."
</blockquote>

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