10/15/2007

Occupational exposure to organic solvents: Effects on human reproduction

A Committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands has published a draft on
"Occupational exposure to organic solvents: 6 Effects on human reproduction".

Organic solvents are widely used in the working environment. Occupational
exposure to solvents occurs amongst others during painting and in dry-cleaning
shops, the printing industry, and in various jobs within the chemical industry.
The most commonly used solvents are toluene, xylene, tetrachloroethylene and
glycolethers.

Well-known consequences of exposure to organic solvents are neurological
effects. Exposure to volatile organic solvents may cause chronic toxic
encephalopathy (CTE), a disease characterized by brain disturbances,
concentration loss, fatigue, mental inertia, headache, depression and
irritability. These adverse effects have been the subject of many
investigations, in particular in the Nordic countries.
Less is known about the possible reproductive effects of occupational exposure
to organic solvents.

In this draft report, the following questions are addressed:

What is known about the effects of occupational exposure to organic solvents on
fertility of men and women?

  • What substantiated effects are found in different types of industry?

  • What substantiated effects are found as a consequence of exposure to a single
    organic solvent?

What is known about the effects of occupational exposure to organic solvents on
the development of the progeny of men and women?

  • What substantiated effects are found in different types of industry?

  • What substantiated effects are found as a consequence of exposure to a single
    organic solvent?

What is known about the relation between any of the observed effects on
fertility and the development of the progeny on the one hand and peak exposure
or exposure during sensitive periods on the other hand?

Are workers at risk for fertility problems or problems in the development of
their progeny, when the latest scientific knowledge is balanced against the
current occupational exposure limits?

What measures are recommended to increase the safety of workers or to increase
the knowledge of the risks of organic solvents for fertility and for the
development of the progeny?

To answer these questions, the committee gives an overview of the research on
this subject, weighs the strength of the evidence, and, if possible, discusses
the likelihood of a causal relation.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: Health Council of the Netherlands