Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2002;28(2):124-132    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.656

Female fertility in relation to the consumption of fish contaminated with persistent organochlorine compounds

by Axmon A, Rylander L, Strömberg U, Hagmar L

Objectives The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of exposure to persistent organochlorine compounds through the consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea on human fertility.

Methods Information on time to pregnancy, miscarriages, and subfertility was collected retrospectively by self-administered questionnaires in two cohorts of fishermen`s sisters from the Swedish east coast, by the Baltic Sea, and the west coast, where fish are less contaminated. Along with cohort affiliation, fish consumption and growing up in a fishing village or fisherman`s family were used as measures of exposure within the eastcoast cohort (ie, the exposed cohort).

Results There was no support for a negative effect of the consumption of fatty Baltic Sea fish on time to pregnancy, miscarriages, or subfertility. On the contrary, some evidence pointed towards a protective effect of fatty fish consumption within both cohorts.

Conclusions No evidence of reduced fertility was found for women who could be assumed to have a high lifetime consumption of fatty fish contaminated by persistent organochlorine compounds. A possible explanation for this finding is that a positive effect of some of the constituents in fatty fish could be strong enough to disguise the hazardous effects of exposure to persistent organochlorine compounds.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2000;26(3):199-206  1995;21(5):368-375  1995;21(2):106-115