OBJECTIVES: To explore reproductive outcomes in relation to occupational exposure to DDT. METHODS: We inquired into the reproductive history, including total number of children, sex distribution in the offspring, time-to-pregnancy, and number of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths, of the spouses of 105 men first exposed to DDT in a 1946-1950 anti-malarial campaign in Sardinia, Italy. The time-to-pregnancy in months at the first successful conception was estimated from population Registrars. Cumulative DDT exposure during the anti-malarial campaign was retrospectively estimated. RESULTS: The stillbirth rate was elevated and the male/female ratio in the offspring was reversed among DDT-exposed workers, and particularly among DDT applicators, compared to the unexposed subjects. Among DDT applicators, the stillbirth rate increased and the male/female ratio decreased by the tertile of cumulative DDT exposure. The fecundity ratio among spouses of DDT applicators was 0.72 (95% CI, 0.41,1.21) compared to the unexposed. The average number of children and abortion rate were unaffected by DDT exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The low statistical power of our study does not allow definitive conclusions. However, the results prompt further in-depth research into adverse reproductive outcomes and reduced fertility among men heavily exposed to DDT.
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