TABLE 6-1 Summary of Epidemiologic Studies Involving Drinking-Water Contamination with TCE, PCE, and Other Solvents

Exposure Source

Study Design

Primary Exposure Assessment

Health Outcomes Evaluated

Relative Risk (95% CI); n = exposed cases

Potential Confounders Considered

Reference and Comments

Tucson, AZ (well contamination, 1969-1981)

TCE, dichloroethylene and chromium in groundwater from dumping of military, industrial wastes


Parental residence or employment in census tracts likely to receive contaminated water at least 1 month before and during first trimester of pregnancya

Congenital heart defects

1969-1987: relative OR estimated to be 3 times greater in exposed group; n = 246


Goldberg et al. 1990, Bove et al. 2002; used inappropriate controls; imprecise geographic delineation of contaminated area

1969-1981: Bove et al. (2002) reanalyzed data to restrict analysis to contamination period; prevalence ratio, 2.6 (2.0-3.4)


Maternal address at delivery linked by GIS to census tracts served by contaminated wells, identified with groundwater transport and fate model

Low birth weight, very low birth weight, term low birth weight

1979-1981 (years with computerized records): very low birth weight (n = 13): adj OR, 3.3 (0.5-20.6)

Gestational time, prenatal-care index, pregnancy complications, pregnancy illness, congenital abnormalities, sex of baby, race of baby, Hispanic origin of baby, parity, age of mother, mother’s education, marital status

Rodenbeck et al. 2000

San Bernardino County, CA (well contamination, 1980-1990; study period, 1988-1998)

TCE, ammonium perchlorate in groundwater (unspecified source)


Residential location (13 census tracts served by contaminated wells)a

16 cancer types

Significantly higher number of cases than expected for uterine cancer (n = 124): RR, 1.4 (99% CI, 1.1-1.7); melanoma (n = 137): RR, 1.4 (99% CI, 1.1-1.8)


Morgan and Cassady 2002; authors attribute excess uterine cancer, melanoma to higher SES of exposed populationb

Santa Clara, CA (well contamination, 1980-1981; study period, 1980-1985)

Trichloroethane in groundwater contaminated by underground waste-solvent storage tank at semiconductor plant


Maternal residence in census tract served by contaminated wella

Spontaneous abortion, congenital abnormalities, low birth weight

Spontaneous abortion (n = 64): adj RR, 2.3 (1.3-4.2); congenital malformations (n = 10): RR, 3.1 (1.1-10.4); no low-birth-weight babies born in contaminated area

Maternal age, alcohol consumption, smoking, prior fetal loss, number previous pregnancies, ethnicity, maternal exposure to organic solvents, petrochemicals, pesticides, x rays

Deane et al. 1989

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