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Am J Ind Med. 1997 Apr;31(4):445-51.

Association between female infertility and agricultural work history.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Lifetime industrial and occupational histories of women with a medically-confirmed diagnosis of infertility (n = 281) were compared to a group of postpartum women (n = 216) for risks of infertility. Controlling for age of first pregnancy or self-report of infertility, date of outcome, cigarette use, and employment in other types of industries, women were at increased risk of infertility if they had worked in industries associated with agriculture (OR = 7.0, 95% CI 2.3-20.8; cases = 11.7%, controls = 1.9%). Among the occupations in which women worked prior to outcome, only those in agriculture were at significantly elevated risk (adj. OR = 11.3, CI 2.6-48.8; cases = 10.0%, controls = 0.9%). Among those who resided on a farm, the risk of infertility was significantly increased (adj. OR = 1.8, CI 1.2-2.7; cases = 37.4%, controls = 25.8%) although yearly duration of farm residence was not (adj. OR = 0.99, CI 0.95-1.03). Farm residence did not alter the OR seen in agricultural industries or occupations. The risk of being diagnosed with an ovulatory or tubal factor increased 4-16-fold among those who had worked in agricultural industries or occupations. These data suggest that, as has been established in men, agriculturally-related exposures may be a significant risk for infertility in women.

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