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Contrasting associations of blood and semen lead concentrations with semen quality among lead smelter workers.

Authors
Alexander-BH; Checkoway-H; Faustman-EM; Van Netten-C; Muller-CH; Ewers-TG
Source
Am J Ind Med 1998 Nov; 34(5):464-469
NIOSHTIC No.
20024505
Abstract
While blood lead concentration has been inversely associated with indicators of reproductive health in occupationally exposed male workers, the utility of lead concentration in semen as an indicator of lead exposure to the male reproductive system has not been fully explored. Blood and semen lead concentrations from 81 lead smelter workers were examined in relation to semen quality and endocrine function parameters. Mean blood and semen lead concentrations were 22.8 micrograms/dl (range 5-58) and 1.9 micrograms/dl (range 0.1-17.6), respectively. Total sperm count and concentration decreased with increasing blood lead concentration; p for trend was 0.003 and 0.009, respectively. Semen lead concentration was inversely related to total sperm count (p = 0.05), ejaculate volume (p = 0.001), and serum testosterone (p = 0.004), but not to sperm concentration. The association between semen lead concentration and total sperm count was eliminated when volume was included in the model. Blood lead concentration was more consistently associated with indicators of sperm production than was semen lead. In contrast, semen lead concentration was negatively associated with circulating testosterone concentrations. Our findings indicate that measurement of semen lead may not be a valuable adjunct to conventional blood lead monitoring for investigations of male reproductive system toxicity.
Keywords
Occupational-exposure; Exposure-levels; Blood-analysis; Lead-compounds; Workers; Work-environment; Smelters; Epidemiology; Biomarkers; Reproductive-effects; Demographic-characteristics; Sex-factors; Reproductive-system-disorders; Author Keywords: lead; semen; blood; sperm; smelter; reproductive health; epidemiology; biomarkers
Contact
Bruce H. Alexander, Department of Environmental Health, Box 358772, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
CODEN
AJIMD8
CAS No.
7439-92-1
Publication Date
19981101
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
45208
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
1999
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R03-OH-002966
Issue of Publication
5
ISSN
0271-3586
Priority Area
Other Occupational Concerns
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
State
WA
Performing Organization
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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