Semen quality and exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants.

Research paper by Gunnar G Toft, Anna A Rignell-Hydbom, Ewa E Tyrkiel, Maryna M Shvets, Aleksander A Giwercman, Christian H CH Lindh, Henning S HS Pedersen, Jan K JK Ludwicki, Vladimir V Lesovoy, Lars L Hagmar, Marcello M Spanó, Gian C GC Manicardi, Eva C EC Bonefeld-Jorgensen, Ane M AM Thulstrup, Jens P JP Bonde

Indexed on: 07 Jun '06Published on: 07 Jun '06Published in: Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)


Inconsistent results have been found in previous human studies on male reproductive toxicity of persistent organochlorine pollutants. The majority of studies have been conducted among selected populations of infertility clients or among occupational cohorts including a limited number of participants.We conducted a cross-sectional study of semen quality and serum concentration of 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (CB-153) and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis (p-chlorophenyl)-ethylene (p,p'-DDE) among 763 men. We included men from all regions in Greenland (n = 194), fishermen from Sweden (n = 185), inhabitants of the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine (n = 195), and inhabitants of the city of Warsaw, Poland (n = 189). Blood samples were analyzed for CB-153 and p,p'-DDE using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and adjusted for serum lipids.Sperm concentration was not impaired with increasing serum CB-153 or p,p'-DDE levels in any of the separate groups or overall. Similarly, the proportion of morphologically normal sperm was not associated with either CB-153 or p,p'-DDE blood concentration. However, sperm motility was inversely related to CB-153 concentration in Greenland and the Swedish fishermen population. Across all 4 regions, the sperm motility decreased on average by 3.6% (95% confidence interval = 1.7% to 5.6%) per one-unit increase in the log of blood CB-153 (ng/g lipid). The concentration of p,p'-DDE was negatively associated with sperm motility in the Greenlandic population and in the compiled dataset.Adult exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants within the ranges observed in the present study is not likely to cause reduction in sperm concentration or morphology. However, higher exposure may be associated with impaired sperm motility.