OBJECTIVES--The purpose of the study was to investigate potential reproductive effects of sodium borates on occupationally exposed male employees at a large mining and production facility in the Mojave Desert of California. METHODS--The standardised birth ratio (SBR) was used to assess fertility of the male employees. Live births were the measured end point, and the rate of female to male offspring was also assessed. Data were collected through a questionnaire after a series of on site introductory and explanatory meetings with the employees. Initial non-responders were followed up by telephone. Medical insurance records were assessed for those who declined to participate. RESULTS--The questionnaire was a good method of ascertainment for live births. There was no evidence of selection bias in the results. There was a highly significant excess of offspring fathered by the male employees. There was no evidence of a relation between exposure and this excess of offspring, nor were there any temporal differences during the period of observation (> 30 years). Also, there was an excess of the percentage of female offspring fathered by these male employees. This excess of female offspring was not significant. There was no evidence of an exposure relation to sodium borates with this excess of female offspring nor were there any temporal differences. CONCLUSION--Under the conditions studied, there were no adverse reproductive effects of high borate doses as reported from oral ingestion studies in animals.
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