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Am J Ind Med. 2017 Jun;60(6):578-590. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22711.

An update systematic review of fetal death, congenital anomalies, and fertility disorders among health care workers.

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Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm), U1085, Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail (Irset), Rennes, France.
Université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France.
Service de santé publique et d'épidémiologie, CHU de Rennes, Rennes, France.



Health care workers (HCWs) are occupationally exposed to various hazards, some associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in previous reviews. This systematic review aims at synthesizing the recent literature on occupational exposures among HCWs related to fetal death, congenital anomalies, and fertility disorders.


We searched the Medline database from 2000 to 2015 for articles about all potential occupational exposures of women and men working in this sector.


We retained 32 studies, most of them (n = 30) among women HCWs. Studies based on job title reported excess risks of some congenital anomalies (especially nervous and musculoskeletal systems) among HCWs compared to non-HCWs but no evidence about fetal death. Excess risks associated with specific exposures includes reports of some congenital anomalies for women exposed to anesthetic gases. Exposure to some sterilizing agents and, with less evidence, to antineoplastic drugs and to ionizing radiation, is associated with increased risks of miscarriage but not stillbirth. Strenuous work schedules appear to be associated with fertility disorders, but the evidence is limited. Only a few studies have been published since 2000 about non-ionizing radiation, or about fertility disorders related to chemical or physical agents, or about male HCWs.


Despite the establishment of recommendations to limit exposures of HCWs, some excess risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes are still reported and need to be explained.


congenital abnormalities; fetal death; health personnel; infertility; occupational exposure

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