OBJECTIVES--A cross sectional study was performed to find the concentrations of elements contained in the semen of workers exposed to trinitrotoluene (TNT). SUBJECTS AND METHODS--Semen of exposed workers in two TNT plants located in He-Nan Province in 1992 were examined. RESULTS--The average TNT concentrations in the workplace, except the packing site, were found to have exceeded the maximal allowable concentration (MAC, 1 mg/m3); skin contaminations of male workers exposed to TNT were higher after a shift than in controls, and correlated with the total blood concentrations of TNT, 4-amino-2, 6-dinitrotoluene (4A), and 2-amino-4, 6-dinitrotoluene (2A). Cu, Zn, Na, Mg, and Se concentrations were significantly decreased, but K, Ca, Co, Mn and Li contents were not significantly changed in the semen of workers exposed to TNT. Compared with the control group, the percentage of liquifying time of semen, the sperm malformation incidence, and viability in the men exposed to TNT were all significantly changed. CONCLUSIONS--Men exposed to TNT have decreased concentrations of some elements is semen and altered semen physiology.
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