1 Scopus citations


Relatively high concentrations of anthropogenic (atrazine and nitrate) and geogenic (uranium and arsenic) water contaminants have been found in drinking water in rural Nebraska. This research assessed a potential association between birth defects occurrence and the contaminants mentioned above within selected Nebraska watershed boundaries. The prevalence of birth defects and the mean concentrations of the selected water contaminants were calculated. More than 80% of Nebraska watersheds had birth defect prevalences above the national average (5 cases per 100 live births). In the negative binomial regression analysis, a positive association was observed between higher levels of nitrate in drinking water and the prevalence of birth defects. Similarly, compared to watersheds with lower atrazine levels, watersheds with atrazine levels above 0.00 µg/L had a higher prevalence of birth defects. This study suggested that chronic exposure to the selected waterborne contaminants even below the legislated maximum contaminant levels may result in birth defects. It also highlighted the relationship between anthropogenic activities (agriculture practices), water contamination, and adverse health effects on children. An additional cohort study is recommended to support these findings so that regulations can be implemented in the form of continuous monitoring of water in private wells and improvements to agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2289
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • agrichemicals in drinking water
  • arsenic concentration
  • atrazine concentration
  • birth defect prevalence
  • nitrate concentration
  • uranium concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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