OBJECTIVE: We investigated self-reported occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, antiviral drugs, sterilizing agents (disinfectants), and X-rays and the risk of spontaneous abortion in US nurses. STUDY DESIGN: Pregnancy outcome and occupational exposures were collected retrospectively from 8461 participants of the Nurses' Health Study II. Of these, 7482 were eligible for analysis using logistic regression. RESULTS: Participants reported 6707 live births, and 775 (10%) spontaneous abortions (less than 20 weeks). After adjusting for age, parity, shift work, and hours worked, antineoplastic drug exposure was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of spontaneous abortion, particularly with early spontaneous abortion before the 12th week, and 3.5-fold increased risk among nulliparous women. Exposure to sterilizing agents was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of late spontaneous abortion (12-20 weeks), but not with early spontaneous abortion. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that certain occupational exposures common to nurses are related to risks of spontaneous abortion.
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