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Evaluation of reproductive function among men occupationally exposed to a stilbene derivative: II. perceived libido and potency.

Whelan EA; Grajewski B; Wild DK; Schnorr TM; Alderfer R
Am J Ind Med 1996 Jan; 29(1):59-65
A study of perceived libido and sexual potency among males occupationally exposed to 4,4'-diaminostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic-acid (81118) (DAS) was conducted. The study was part of a NIOSH health hazard evaluation conducted in response to complaints of impotence and decreased libido among male employees employed at a facility that manufactured DAS. The study group consisted of 30 males who were currently exposed to DAS, 20 males who had been exposed to DAS in the past but who were no longer exposed, and 35 males working in an area where plastics additives were produced but who were not exposed to DAS. A questionnaire on sexual function was completed as part of a questionnaire package that sought information on demographic characteristics, occupational exposures, and medical and reproductive history. The subjects' responses to the sexual function questionnaire were used to evaluate possible DAS effects on libido and potency. The questionnaire data were analyzed by a factor analysis technique using the factors: sexual activity and performance, interest, satisfaction, and physiological competence. The mean ages of the current and former DAS workers and controls were 45.9, 45.2, and 39.0 years (yr), respectively. The current and former DAS workers had been employed at the factory significantly longer than the controls. Current DAS workers were significantly more likely to have a value in the lowest quartile for sexual interest, physiological competence, and sexual activities relating to ejaculation than the controls. Former DAS workers were significantly more likely to report problems associated with maintaining erections and experiencing pleasure from sex and ejaculation problems than the controls. When compared to previously measured serum testosterone concentrations, no clear associations between low libido or potency and testosterone concentrations were found. Former DAS workers in the lowest quartile for sexual performance and activity had somewhat lower testosterone concentrations than the controls. The authors conclude that although the small number of subjects in the study limits the precision of the effects estimates, the reports of sexual dysfunction among the current and former DAS workers suggest that working in DAS production can affect sexual function.
NIOSH-Author; Reproductive-effects; Stilbenes; Risk-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Epidemiology; Men; Chemical-factory-workers; Hormones; Sexual-reproduction; Questionnaires; Statistical-analysis; Author Keywords: Impotence; Serum testosterone; Occupational exposures; Stilbene manufacture
Elizabeth A. Whelan, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DSHEFS, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-15, Cincinnati, OH 45226
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division