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Semen Quality and the Level of Reproductive Hormones After Environmental Exposure to Pyrethroids

Radwan, Michał PhD, MD; Jurewicz, Joanna PhD; Wielgomas, Bartosz PhD; Sobala, Wojciech MSc; Piskunowicz, Marta MSc; Radwan, Paweł PhD, MD; Hanke, Wojciech PhD, MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 11 - p 1113–1119
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000297
Original Articles

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine whether the environmental exposure to pyrethroids affects semen quality and the level of reproductive hormones in men.

Methods: The study population consisted of 334 men who attended the infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes and who had normal semen concentration of 15 to 300 mln/mL. Participants were interviewed and provided a semen sample. The pyrethroids metabolites—3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3PBA), cis-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid (CDCCA), trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid (TDCCA), and cis-2,2-dibromovinyl-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (DBCA) were analyzed in the urine using a validated gas chromatography ion-trap mass spectrometry method.

Results: Urinary pyrethroids metabolites levels were significantly associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology and decrease in sperm concentration, the level of testosterone, and computer-aided semen analysis parameters.

Conclusions: Environmental pyrethroids exposure may affect semen quality and the level of reproductive hormones.

From the Department of Gynecology and Reproduction (Dr Radwan, Dr Radwan); “Gameta” Hospital, Rzgów; Department of Environmental Epidemiology (Drs Jurewicz and Hanke, Mr Sobala), Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz; and Department of Toxicology (Dr Wielgomas, Ms Piskunowicz), Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland.

Address correspondence to: Joanna Jurewicz, PhD, Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, 8 Teresy St; 91-362 Lodz, Poland (; Michał Radwan, PhD, MD, Department of Gynecology and Reproduction, “Gameta” Hospital, 34 Rudzka St; 95-030 Rzgów, Poland (

Authors Radwan, Jurewicz, Wielgomas, Sobala, Piskunowicz, Radwan, and Hanke have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine