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224 Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and sperm quality of coke-oven workers
  1. W Y Lin1,
  2. Jeng2,
  3. Pan3,
  4. M L Yu4,
  5. C Y Dai4,
  6. C H Li1,
  7. N C Chang1,
  8. Huang5,
  9. M H Hsieh4,
  10. J F Yang4,
  11. C L Wang4,
  12. C F Huang6,
  13. Lin7,
  14. H Y Chuang4,
  15. M T Wu1,
  16. C K Ho8
  1. 1Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiaokang Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  2. 2School of Community and Environmental Health, College of Health Sciences, Old Do, Norfolk, United States of America
  3. 3Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Council of Labor Affairs, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Occupational Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiaokang Hospital, KMU, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  6. 6Department of Occupational Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  7. 7China Steel Corporation, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  8. 8Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government, Kaohsiung, Taiwan


Objectives The study aimed to assess whether exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) alter sperm quality of coke-oven workers.

Methods Personal breathing zone, urine, and semen samples were collected from nonsmoking workers at top-side ovens (high exposure, N = 16) and side-ovens (low exposure, N = 20), and administrative staff members serving as the control group (N = 15). PAH concentrations were analysed by a gas chromatography quadruple spectrometer. Routine semen was analysed by procedures in accordance with the World Health Organization guidelines. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) was analysed by HPLC with a fluorescence detector.

Results ANOVA analysis showed a significant difference in urinary 1-OHP levels (14.7 ± 12.9, 4 ± 4.3, 0.3 ± 0.2 g/g creatinine respectively, p = 0.02) between the exposed groups and the control. Mean concentrations of 16 species of PAHs significantly differed among the three groups (Total PAHs = 41620.3 ± 17697.6 ng/m3, 19887.6 ± 1378.1 ng/m3, 57.0 ± 18.1ng/m3, p < 0.0001; Benzo (g,h,i)perylene = 3553.9 ± 1250.7 ng/m3, 3001.9 ± 1367.7 ng/m3, 2.0 ± 1.5 ng/m3, p < 0.0001, p = 0.067). Asthenospermia was found more frequently in the high exposure group as compared to the control (37.5% and 13.3%, respectively, p < 0.01). The exposed groups had lower percentages of normal morphology as compared with the control group (14.5 ± 3.4%, 15.0 ± 3.1%, 34.5 ± 2.6% p < 0.01). Multiple regression analysis showed that PAH species positively correlated with abnormality of morphology and motility of sperm.

Conclusion Abnormal morphology of sperm was associated with PAH concentrations, especially those with heavy molecular weights, e.g. benzo (g,h,i)perylene and benzo (k)fluoranthene.

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