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Association of spontaneous abortion and other reproductive effects with work in the semiconductor industry.

Schenker MB; Gold EB; Beaumont JJ; Eskenazi B; Hammond SK; Lasley BL; McCurdy SA; Samuels SJ; Saiki CL; Swan SH
Am J Ind Med 1995 Dec; 28(6):639-659
The possible association of work in a fabrication room (fab) and the incidence of spontaneous abortion was investigated in women working in the semiconductor industry. A screening questionnaire was completed by 6,088 women in the historical component of the study by telephone. There were 953 pregnancies during the study period (1986 to 1989), and a more detailed interview was conducted for 904 of them. In the prospective component of the study, 2,639 women completed a screening questionnaire and 403 women participated in a study of pregnancy and pregnancy loss through analysis of daily urine samples for at least 1 month. A cross sectional study was conducted to identify health outcomes and exposures requiring further study. Exposures were assessed through an industrial hygiene study. Based on the historical cohort study, the crude relative risk of spontaneous abortion (SAB) for fab versus nonfab workers was 1.45. Among factors independently associated with SAB was being older than 35 years, smoking cigarettes during pregnancy and experiencing a prior SAB. Stress at work also resulted in a higher SAB rate. The risk of SAB was higher among fab than nonfab workers during all four of the study years. The unadjusted relative risk of SAB among women during the first trimester of pregnancy was higher in fab supergroups involved in masking or dopants and thin film than among nonfab women. Within the masking supergroup, the etching work group was at higher risk than the photolithography work group. When analyzing by specific agent exposure, the most consistent finding was an association of SAB with photo resist chemicals and with fluoride exposure among subjects in the etching work group. Women exposed to any photo resist chemical had an adjusted relative risk for SAB of 1.35. Fluoride was also strongly associated with SAB. Only a weak and insignificant association was found between infertility and fab working men and women. Only a small but not significant increase in mean cycle length, variability in cycle lengths, percentages of long or short cycles, and mean days of menstrual bleeding were noted as evidence of any effect of fab exposure on menstrual cycles.
Organic-solvents; Risk-factors; Semiconductors; Reproductive-system-disorders; Reproductive-hazards; Workplace-studies; Epidemiology; Menstrual-disorders; Author Keywords: reproduction; spontaneous abortion; miscarriage; glycol ether; semiconductor manufacturing; occupational exposures
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division