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Petrochemical exposures and reproductive outcomes.
NIOSH 1999 Apr; :1-48
During 1994-1998, we have conducted a series of occupational epidemiologic studies to investigate the association of exposure to benzene and other organic solvents with adverse reproductive outcomes in a large petrochemical corporation in Beijing China. A retrospective study found that the risk of spontaneous abortion was associated with exposure to benzene, gasoline, and hydrogen sulfide. Cross-sectional studies in two separate groups of women observed similar trend of increased frequency of prolonged menstrual cycles with longer years of exposure to organic solvents. In a prospective follow-up of women planning to conceive, benzene exposure was associated with reduced fecundability after adjusting for other solvents and potential confounders. In a study of birth outcomes who delivered a baby during the study period, exposure to benzene and other solvents were associated with a statistically significant reduction of birth weight adjusting for gestational age and other confounders. Although the levels of exposures were below the limit regulated by OSHA and recommended by NIOSH, our studies show that even low-level occupational exposure to benzene and other organic solvents is linked to a broad spectrum of adverse reproductive outcomes including menstrual disorders, spontaneous abortion, birth weight and decrease fecundability. These results suggest that the exposures need to be more strictly monitored among employees who are pregnant or planning to conceive.
Occupational exposure; Benzenes; Petroleum products; Pregnancy; Prenatal exposure; Sulfides; Humans; Fetus; Menstrual disorders; Fertility; Women; Organic solvents; Solvent vapors; Solvents
Final Grant Report
NTIS Accession No.
Disease and Injury: Fertility and Pregnancy Abnormalities
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Harvard University, Boston, MA
Page last reviewed: April 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division