Objective: To investigate potential associations between semen quality in workers and the concentrations of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in personal air collected from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plants. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: PVC plants in Taiwan. Patient(s): Forty-five male workers employed in two PVC pellet plants. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measurement(s): Sperm concentration, motility, morphology, and chromatin DNA integrity were accessed. Result(s): The workers were divided into low- and high-DEHP-exposed groups in accordance with the median levels of DEHP (23.7 μg/m3) in personal air. In the high-DEHP-exposed group, significant increases were found in the tendency for sperm DNA denaturation (αT) induction, the DNA fragmentation index (DFI), and propensity for coffee drinking. After adjusting for coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, and age, personal air concentrations of DEHP showed positive associations with αT (β = 0.038) and DFI (β = 0.140) and negative associations with sperm motility (β = -0.227). Conclusion(s): This is the first study to demonstrate a link between DEHP concentration in ambient air and the adverse effects in sperm motility and chromatin DNA integrity. Given the current wide use of these PVC products, the implications for phthalates toxicity and occupational health could be considerable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology