Fertility and exposure to solvents among families in the Agricultural Health Study

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Human Health Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
Occupational and environmental medicine (Impact Factor: 3.27). 08/2006; 63(7):469-75. DOI: 10.1136/oem.2005.021337
Source: PubMed


Several studies have reported associations between solvent exposure and reduced female fertility, but the evidence is inconclusive for male fertility.
To investigate the impact of solvent exposure on subfertility among families of male licensed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study cohort.
The couples enrolled between 1993 and 1997. Cross-sectional questionnaire information on work tasks was used to assess exposure to solvents. The data were limited to couples (wife aged less than 40 years) with an attempt at pregnancy in the last four years (n = 2112).
Twenty eight per cent of the couples were defined as subfertile (not conceiving a pregnancy after at least 12 months of unprotected intercourse, regardless of whether or not a pregnancy ultimately occurred). Adjusted subfertility odds ratios (OR) for exposure to solvents were calculated with logistic regression. Female (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.75) and male exposure to solvents (OR 1.21 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.57) for monthly exposure and 1.40 (95% CI 0.97 to 2.03) for daily or weekly exposure) were associated with subfertility. In farming, spouses may share or exchange jobs. To account for potential dual exposure, variables for parental exposure (either parent exposed or both parents exposed) were also defined. Both were strongly associated with subfertility (OR 1.62 (95% CI 1.20 to 2.17) and OR 2.10 (95% CI 1.22 to 3.60), respectively).
Solvents may impair fertility of either gender, though the evidence for female effects is stronger than for male effects.

Download full-text


Available from: Aaron Blair,
  • Source
    • "For example, pesticides have been associated with retinal degeneration [Kamel et al., 2000], non-malignant respiratory disease [Hoppin et al., 2006; Hoppin et al., 2014], thyroid disease [Goldner et al., 2010], depression [Beseler et al., 2006], diabetes [Montgomery et al., 2008; Starling et al., 2014], Parkinson's disease [Tanner et al., 2011; Goldman et al., 2012], and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [Kamel et al., 2012]. Exposure to solvents was also studied in relation to fertility [Sallmén et al., 2006]. Findings for pesticides and other agricultural exposures and cancer include several aspects of prostate cancer (family history, aggressive prostate cancer, genetic polymorphisms) [Alavanja et al., 2003; Koutros et al., 2011, 2013], contact with farm animals [Beane et al., 2012], monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance [Landgren et al., 2009], telomere length [Hou et al., 2013], and childhood cancer among children of pesticide applicators [Flower et al., 2004]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prospective cohorts have played a major role in understanding the contribution of diet, physical activity, medical conditions, and genes to the development of many diseases, but have not been widely used for occupational exposures. Studies in agriculture are an exception. We draw upon our experience using this design to study agricultural workers to identify conditions that might foster use of prospective cohorts to study other occupational settings. Prospective cohort studies are perceived by many as the strongest epidemiologic design. It allows updating of information on exposure and other factors, collection of biologic samples before disease diagnosis for biomarker studies, assessment of effect modification by genes, lifestyle, and other occupational exposures, and evaluation of a wide range of health outcomes. Increased use of prospective cohorts would be beneficial in identifying hazardous exposures in the workplace. Occupational epidemiologists should seek opportunities to initiate prospective cohorts to investigate high priority, occupational exposures. Am. J. Ind. Med. 58:113–122, 2015.
    American Journal of Industrial Medicine 02/2015; 58(2):113-122. DOI:10.1002/ajim.22403 · 1.74 Impact Factor
  • Source

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To broadly review the recent literature linking environmental factors and adult female reproductive health for the UCSF-CHE Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility. Reviewed articles indexed in PubMed from 1999-2007 addressing environment and puberty, menstrual and ovarian function, fertility, and menopause. The strongest evidence of environmental contaminant exposures interfering with healthy reproductive function in adult females is for heavy metals, particularly lead. Compounds that can influence hormone function, including pesticides and persistent pollutants, are also associated with risk. The pattern of effects for these endocrine-active compounds is often complex, with no clear dose response, but alterations in function and poor reproductive health outcomes are observed. From a clinical perspective, most modifiable risk appears to be associated with exposures in unique populations (contaminated fish consumers) or occupational groups (farmworkers). Many compounds have demonstrated increased risks for reproductive health impairment in women, but the literature is largely cross-sectional in nature and too sparse or inconclusive to support causal inference. Reproductive function in adult females is impaired by lead exposure. Pesticides and persistent pollutants can alter hormone function resulting in adverse reproductive health effects. Coordinated research is needed to address contaminant effects across the life span.
    Fertility and sterility 03/2008; 89(2 Suppl):e81-94. DOI:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.12.036 · 4.59 Impact Factor
Show more