Analysis of the sex ratio at birth in Greece, 1960-2006. Are synthetic chemicals to blame?

Alexandra Tragaki, Harokopion University of Athens
Katia Lasaridi, Harokopion University of Athens

Social, economic, demographic, evolutionary or environmental variables have been tested as explanatory factors for differential sex ratios at birth. The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, to examine variation in the sex ratio at birth observed in Greece during the last decades; analysis also includes supplementary characteristics like the age and nationality of mother and birth order. Secondly, the paper aims to investigate the differentiations across urban and rural areas in order to identify potential environmental incidence. Some of the findings may be interesting from an environmental point of view, as they seem to follow trends that have been partially attributed to hormone disruptors though the issue is treated from a purely demographic view. In line with the other industrialized countries, the sex ratio in Greece follows a net downward trend, especially since 1980. Regional differentiations are proved to be rather important. The sex ratio is considerably higher in rural areas compared to urban centers or Athens Major Area, while the gap is increasing over time. This may be partially attributed to environmental factors, including the exposure to higher concentrations of chemicals with hormonal or anti-hormonal action (hormone disruptors), on the basis of theoretical assumptions and case studies well documented in the literature (e.g. the Seveso accident) as measurement of such exposure at ambient levels presents a very high degree of difficulty.

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Presented in Session 6: Reproductive Issues in Low-Fertility Populations