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Effects of Gasoline Inhalation on Menstrual Characteristics and the Hormonal Profile of Female Petrol Pump Workers

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Author(s): Christopher E. Ekpenyong | Koofreh Davies | Nyebuk Daniel

Journal: Journal of Environmental Protection
ISSN 2152-2197

Volume: 04;
Issue: 08;
Start page: 65;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Adverse Reproductive Outcome | Female Worker | Gasoline Inhalation

ABSTRACT
Increasing numbers of young women are employed as gasoline station attendants in most developing countries despite the lack of empirical data on the adverse reproductive health effect of this solvent. This study therefore sought to assess the effects of gasoline inhalation on the serum sex hormone profile and menstrual characteristics of female gasoline station attendants in Nigeria, given the global increase in the rate of infertility and the existing evidence on the reproductive toxicity of gasoline constituents. A site-by-site cross-sectional study of 117 female gasoline pump attendants and 118 age-matched controls was carried out between September 2011 and November 2012. The following 3 instruments were used for data collection: a semi-structured questionnaire, a female sex hormone profile assay and exposure status measures. The prevalence of menstrual disorders among the exposed and unexposed women was 37.2% and 28.5% respectively. Exposure to gasoline was significantly associated with disorders in both menstrual cycle length and quantity of flow. Specifically, exposed women had a greater than threefold increased risk of a menstrual disorder, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.25 for abnormal cycle length and OR of 4.16 for abnormal quantity of flow. In addition, longer duration of exposure (>1 year) was significantly associated with higher likelihood of menstrual disorders. There were also persistent low serum levels of estradiol, and fluctuating levels of other reproductive hormones. Gasoline inhalation may interfere with ovarian functions leading to disordered menstrual characteristics and female sex hormone profiles, as well as future reproductive impairment.
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