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Infertility and Spontaneous Abortion Among Female Hairdressers: The Hordaland Health Study

Baste, Valborg MSc; Moen, Bente E. PhD; Riise, Trond PhD; Hollund, Bjørg Eli PhD; Øyen, Nina PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 1371-1377
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181858723
Original Articles

Objectives: The authors investigated the risks of negative reproductive outcome among female hairdressers.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1997–1999, and 16,907 women in their forties were invited (response 71%). Information on infertility, delayed conception, spontaneous abortions, smoking, education, and occupation was collected.

Results: Infertility and spontaneous abortion were higher among female hairdressers than among women in other occupations (adjusted relative risks = 1.30; 95% confidence intervals = 1.08 to 1.55 and 1.31; 1.07 to 1.60, respectively). There was a significant interaction between work and smoking habits. Smoking increased the risk of infertility among women in other occupations, but this was not found among hairdressers.

Conclusions: Female hairdressers have an increased risk of infertility and spontaneous abortions that might be due to their occupational chemical exposure. The risk was primarily found among never smokers.

From the Research Group for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Ms Baste), UNIFOB, Bergen, Norway; Research Group for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care (Dr Moen), University of Bergen, Norway; Research Group for Epidemiology, Lifestyle and Chronic Disease, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care (Dr Riise), University of Bergen, Norway; Department of Occupational Medicine (Dr Hollund), Haukeland University Hospital, Norway; Section for Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care (Dr Øyen), University of Bergen, Norway; and Department of Epidemiology Research (Dr Øyen), Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Address correspondence to: Valborg Baste, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, 5018 Bergen, Norway; E-mail:

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine