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October 7, 1998

Declines in Population Sex Ratios at Birth

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;280(13):1139-1141. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-13-jbk1007

To the Editor: Dr Davis and colleagues1 cite evidence that the sex ratio (proportion of males at birth) has been diminishing during the last few decades in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, and some countries in South America. The authors also cite evidence that declines in sex ratio (mainly male) are associated with exposure to a number of deleterious chemicals, including dioxin, the nematocide dibromochloropropane and other pesticides, borates, alcohol, lead, solvents, and waste anesthetic gases. They raise the question of whether the decline was attributable to exposure to these chemicals. To answer that question, we need to know what the population sex ratios would have been in the absence of those chemical agents.

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