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Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Jun 1;135(11):1208-19.

Fertility of male workers exposed to cadmium, lead, or manganese.

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Industrial Toxicology and Occupational Medicine Unit, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


The effect of exposure to cadmium, lead, or manganese on male reproductive function was examined in 1988-1989 in Belgian blue-collar workers. The workers were exposed to cadmium in two smelters (n = 83; geometric mean urinary cadmium level = 6.94 micrograms/g of creatinine; mean duration of exposure = 24 years), to lead in a battery factory (n = 74; mean blood lead level = 46.3 micrograms/dl; mean duration of exposure = 10.7 years), or to manganese (manganese dioxide) in a dry alkaline battery plant (n = 70; median atmospheric concentration of total manganese dust = 0.71 mg/m3; mean duration of exposure = 6.2 years). Fertility in these workers and in an unexposed population (n = 138) was assessed by examining the birth experiences of their wives through a logistic regression model. The probability of a live birth was not different between the unexposed workers and the cadmium- or manganese-exposed workers before or after the onset of exposure. While the fertility of the lead-exposed workers was somewhat greater than that of the unexposed before the onset of exposure, a significant decrease in fertility was observed during the period of exposure to the metal (odds ratio = 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.43-0.98).

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