Infertility in Females

Although there are some reported associations between female infertility and agricultural work, there are no studies using direct exposure data to assess outcomes. Biomarker studies have measured pesticide residues in the female reproductive tract, indicating exposures and uptake are occurring in critical tissues, but there are no studies to date linking these measurements with infertility. High levels of p,p'-DDE, a metabolite of the pesticide DDT, were found in sera and follicular fluid samples of women attending an infertility program and were associated with poor fertilization rates (1).

There are a number of small studies where associations between working with pesticides and infertility or increased time-to-pregnancy were found. Fuortes found women were at an increased risk of infertility if they had worked in the agricultural industry or resided on a farm. In the same study, the risk of being diagnosed with an ovulatory or tubal cause of infertility was increased 4- to 16-fold among those working in agriculture (23-25).

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