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Something in the Water: Contaminated Drinking Water and Infant Health

  • Janet Currie
  • Joshua S. Graff Zivin
  • Katherine Meckel
  • Matthew J. Neidell
  • Wolfram Schlenker

This paper provides estimates of the effects of in utero exposure to contaminated drinking water on fetal health. We examine the universe of birth records and drinking water testing results for the state of New Jersey from 1997 to 2007. Our data enable us to compare outcomes across siblings who were potentially exposed to differing levels of harmful contaminants from drinking water while in utero. We find small effects of drinking water contamination on all children, but large and statistically significant effects on birth weight and gestation of infants born to less educated mothers. We also show that those mothers who were most affected by contaminants were the least likely to move between births in response to contamination.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18876.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
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Publication status: published as Janet Currie & Joshua Graff Zivin & Katherine Meckel & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2013. "Something in the water: contaminated drinking water and infant health," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(3), pages 791-810, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18876
Note: CH EEE HE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2006. "Stature and status: Height, ability, and labor market outcomes," Working Papers 232, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Jay Shimshack, 2004. "Are Mercury Advisories Effective? Inofrmation, Education, and Fish Consumption," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0423, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  3. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell & Wolfram Schlenker, 2011. "Water Quality Violations and Avoidance Behavior: Evidence from Bottled Water Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 448-53, May.
  4. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2007. "Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption," MPRA Paper 25995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Janet Currie & Matthew J. Neidell & Johannes Schmieder, 2008. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey," NBER Working Papers 14196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-63, June.
  7. Janet Currie & Reed Walker, 2011. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 65-90, January.
  8. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2005. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 11796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2004. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn From California's Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 10251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," Working Papers 0406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  11. Coneus, Katja & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2012. "Pollution exposure and child health: Evidence for infants and toddlers in Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 180-196.
  12. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 16798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Graff Zivin, Joshua & Neidell, Matthew, 2009. "Days of haze: Environmental information disclosure and intertemporal avoidance behavior," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 119-128, September.
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