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Environ Health Perspect. 1999 April; 107(4): 297–302.
PMCID: PMC1566511
Research Article

International trends in rates of hypospadias and cryptorchidism.


Researchers from seven European nations and the United States have published reports of increasing rates of hypospadias during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Reports of increasing rates of cryptorchidism have come primarily from England. In recent years, these reports have become one focus of the debate over endocrine disruption. This study examines more recent data from a larger number of countries participating in the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems (ICBDMS) to address the questions of whether such increases are worldwide and continuing and whether there are geographic patterns to any observed increases. The ICBDMS headquarters and individual systems provided the data. Systems were categorized into five groups based on gross domestic product in 1984. Hypospadias increases were most marked in two American systems and in Scandinavia and Japan. The increases leveled off in many systems after 1985. Increases were not seen in less affluent nations. Cryptorchidism rates were available for 10 systems. Clear increases in this anomaly were seen in two U.S. systems and in the South American system, but not elsewhere. Since 1985, rates declined in most systems. Numerous artifacts may contribute to or cause upward trends in hypospadias. Possible "real" causes include demographic changes and endocrine disruption, among others.

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Selected References

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