Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1996;22(5):387-391    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.159

Hematopoietic and reproductive hazards of Korean electronic workers exposed to solvents containing 2-bromopropane

by Kim Y, Jung K, Hwang T, Jung G, Kim H, Park J, Kim J, Park J, Park D, Park S, Choi K, Moon Y

Objectives The purpose of this study was to describe hematopoietic and reproductive hazards of Korean electronic workers exposed to solvents containing 2-bromopropane.

Methods Detailed medical and occupational histories were taken and thorough physical examinations with clinical laboratory tests were done for 33 workers (8 men and 25 women). Previous and present exposure was investigated in detail by industrial hygienists.

Results Of the 25 female workers, 16 were shown to have secondary amenorrhea with high follicle-stimulating hormone levels, normal prolactin levels, and hot flashes. A total of eight workers with amenorrhea concurrently showed findings of pancytopenia. Among eight male workers, two showed azoospermia and another four showed some degree of oligospermia (normal >20 million·ml-1) or reduced sperm motility (normal >50%). The bone marrow effects and the testis or ovarian failure was shown to be the main health hazards in this workplace. Except for the cleaning solution containing 97.4% 2-bromopropane, no other known physical or chemical agents could be identified as responsible for the gonadal and bone marrow effects, including ionizing radiation, lead, ethylene glycol ether and its acetates, benzene, and dibromochloropropane.

Conclusions No previous studies have reported human toxicity for 2-bromopropane, but the results of this study lead to the tentative conclusion that the causal agent for the gonadal and bone marrow effects among the workers might be 2-bromopropane.