Reduced fertility among women exposed to organic solvents

Authors

  • Markku Sallmén MSC,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
    • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland
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  • Marja-Liisa Lindbohm DrPH,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Pentti Kyyrönen,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Erkki Nykyri LSc,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Ahti Anttila MSc,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Helena Taskinen MD,

    1. Department of Occupational Medicine, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
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  • Kari Hemminki MD

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
    Current affiliation:
    1. Center for Nutrition and Toxicology, Karolinska Institute. Huddinge. Sweden
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Abstract

A retrospective time-to-pregnancy study was performed among women biologically monitored for exposure to organic solvents. The women were participants in a previous study on spontaneous abortion. They were classified into exposure categories on the basis of work description and the use of solvents as reported in the questionnaires and on biological exposure measurements. Daily or high solvent exposure, adjusted for potential confounders, was significantly associated with reduced fecundability in the discrete proportional hazards analysis (incidence density ratio of clinical pregnancies 0.41; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.27-0.62). The incidence density ratios were decreased also among workers who were exposed to organic solvents in shoe factories (0.28; CI 0.11-0.71), dry cleaning shops (0.44; CI 0.22-0.86), and in the metal industry (0.58; CI 0.34-0.98). The possible effects of various biases are discussed. The results of the study support the hypothesis that daily or high exposure to organic solvents is associated with reduced fertility. There is a need for safer working methods in industries where organic solvents still are used.

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