Potential exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and selected adverse pregnancy outcomes: a follow-up study of pregnant women referred for occupational counselling

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Background: Experimental evidence indicates that fetal exposure to xenobiotics with the potential to interfere with the endogenous steroid hormone regulation of fetal development may reduce birth weight. However, epidemiological studies are limited. The aim of the study was to investigate whether potential occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) of the mother during pregnancy is associated with preterm birth and low birth weight.

Methods: Pregnant women referred to an Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) in two Danish regions (Copenhagen or Aarhus) between 1984 and 2010, suspected of being exposed to occupational reproductive hazards were included in the study. A job exposure matrix enabled estimation of potential occupational exposure to EDC on the basis of job title. Births by women potentially exposed to EDC (n = 582) were compared to births by women referred to an OHC on the suspicion of other exposures than EDC (n = 620), and to a sample of births by all occupationally active women in the same geographical regions (n = 346,544), including 1,077 births of the referred women’s non-referred pregnancies.

Results: No indications of reduced birth weight or increased risk of preterm birth were found among women potentially exposed to EDC. Women potentially exposed to EDC had children with a higher birth weight compared to the sample of occupationally active women but not compared to other women referred to an OHC.

Conclusions: Potential maternal exposure to EDC at Danish workplaces is not related to low birth weight or preterm birth among women referred to occupational counselling. Occupational exposures might be too weak on the average to cause these adverse effects or counselling at the OHCs is effective in preventing them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals, Birth weight, Gestational age, Job exposure matrix, Occupational health clinic, Work health, Prospective study, Epidemiology, Public health

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