Possible hazardous effects of laboratory work on the reproduction outcomes of female laboratory personnel in Sweden from 1990 to 1994 were investigated in a questionnaire-based study (n = 1052) by comparison with personnel in non-laboratory departments. The individual woman constituted the primary sampling unit, with her pregnancies defined as the unit of analysis. Allowance for dependence between different pregnancies of the same woman was considered by applying random effect models. With regard to spontaneous abortions, no elevated odds ratio was found for laboratory work in general, but an odds ratio of 2.3 and a 95% confidence interval of 0.9 to 5.9 (n = 856) was connected to working with chloroform. The odds ratio for large for gestational age infants in association with the mother’s laboratory work was 1.9 (confidence interval, 0.7 to 5.2). The result with regard to spontaneous abortion partly supports previously reported increased risks of miscarriage related to laboratory work with solvents.
From The National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Health Risk Assessment, Karolinska Institutet (Dr Wennborg, Dr Vainio); the Department of Statistics, Örebro University (Dr Bodin); and the Division of Environmental Medicine, Göteborg Universitet (Dr Axelsson); Sweden.
Address correspondence to: Helena Wennborg, MD, The National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Health Risk Assessment, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE–171 77, Stockholm, Sweden; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.