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Environ Res. 2005 May;98(1):120-6.

Reproductive outcomes in DDT applicators.

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Occupational Health Section, Department of Public Health, University of Cagliari, Via San Giorgio 12, Cagliari 09124, Italy.



To explore reproductive outcomes in relation to occupational exposure to DDT.


We inquired into the reproductive history, including total number of children, sex distribution in the offspring, time-to-pregnancy, and number of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths, of the spouses of 105 men first exposed to DDT in a 1946-1950 anti-malarial campaign in Sardinia, Italy. The time-to-pregnancy in months at the first successful conception was estimated from population Registrars. Cumulative DDT exposure during the anti-malarial campaign was retrospectively estimated.


The stillbirth rate was elevated and the male/female ratio in the offspring was reversed among DDT-exposed workers, and particularly among DDT applicators, compared to the unexposed subjects. Among DDT applicators, the stillbirth rate increased and the male/female ratio decreased by the tertile of cumulative DDT exposure. The fecundity ratio among spouses of DDT applicators was 0.72 (95% CI, 0.41,1.21) compared to the unexposed. The average number of children and abortion rate were unaffected by DDT exposure.


The low statistical power of our study does not allow definitive conclusions. However, the results prompt further in-depth research into adverse reproductive outcomes and reduced fertility among men heavily exposed to DDT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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