OBJECTIVE: To assess the relationship between the environmental impact of coal mining and its effects in the reproductive health of populations living in small towns of Southern Brazil by studying the frequency of birth defects in newborns. METHODS: The assessment of potential reproductive hazards in the population was based on an evaluation of hospital records of 10,391 newborns within a 10-year-period (from 1985 to 1995). Eight major birth defects were selected and their frequencies at birth was analyzed and compared to observed frequencies registered by the Latin American Study of Congenital Malformation (ECLAMC). RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: The results show no increase in the frequencies of the birth defects studied, and rule out the existence of an increased teratogenic risk in this region. It's noteworthy that the small number of children evaluated allows identifying tendencies that can only be confirmed in larger population studies.
Abnormalities; Abnormalities; Coal; Coal mining; Environmental impact; Environmental risks; Reproductive health