A longitudinal study of semen quality in pesticide spraying Danish farmers

Solveig B. Larsen, Aleksander Giwercman, Marcello Spanò, Jens P. Bonde

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It was hypothesized that occupational exposure to pesticides during a spraying season causes changes in semen quality that might be detected in a longitudinal study. We analyzed the within-person changes in semen quality and reproductive hormones across a spraying season in groups of farmers using and not using pesticides. A total of 248 men collected two semen samples (participation rate: 32%). The median sperm concentration declined significantly from the first to the second sample in both groups, but there was no statistical difference in the decline between the two groups, unadjusted or adjusted. Only minor changes were found in sperm morphology, vitality, motility, sperm chromatin denaturation (SCSA), and reproductive hormones, and the differences in changes between the two groups were nonsignificant, or, in the opposite direction to the expected. There was no relation between the changes in sperm parameters in relation to pesticide exposure variables. In conclusion, use of pesticides by Danish farmers is not a likely cause of short-term effects on semen quality and reproductive hormones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581 - 589
Number of pages9
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology

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