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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 542; doi:10.3390/ijerph14050542

Birth Outcomes after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: A Long-Term Retrospective Study

1
Global Public Health Unit, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD, UK
2
Department of Research, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
3
Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
4
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK
5
Department of Surgery, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
6
Department of Radiation Protection, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
7
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0033, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 8 March 2017 / Revised: 8 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Abstract

Changes in population birth outcomes, including increases in low birthweight or preterm births, have been documented after natural and manmade disasters. However, information is limited following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster. In this study, we assessed whether there were long-term changes in birth outcomes post-disaster, compared to pre-disaster data, and whether residential area and food purchasing patterns, as proxy measurements of evacuation and radiation-related anxiety, were associated with post-disaster birth outcomes. Maternal and perinatal data were retrospectively collected for all live singleton births at a public hospital, located 23 km from the power plant, from 2008 to 2015. Proportions of low birthweight (<2500 g at birth) and preterm births (<37 weeks gestation at birth) were compared pre- and post-disaster, and regression models were conducted to assess for associations between these outcomes and evacuation and food avoidance. A total of 1101 live singleton births were included. There were no increased proportions of low birthweight or preterm births in any year after the disaster (merged post-disaster risk ratio of low birthweight birth: 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.64–1.51; and preterm birth: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.38–1.21). No significant associations between birth outcomes and residential area or food purchasing patterns were identified, after adjustment for covariates. In conclusion, no changes in birth outcomes were found in this institution-based investigation after the Fukushima disaster. Further research is needed on the pathways that may exacerbate or reduce disaster effects on maternal and perinatal health. View Full-Text
Keywords: disasters; maternal and perinatal health; birthweight; public health; Fukushima disasters; maternal and perinatal health; birthweight; public health; Fukushima
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MDPI and ACS Style

Leppold, C.; Nomura, S.; Sawano, T.; Ozaki, A.; Tsubokura, M.; Hill, S.; Kanazawa, Y.; Anbe, H. Birth Outcomes after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: A Long-Term Retrospective Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 542.

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