Advances in Toxicology and Toxic Effects
Short Communication       Open Access      Peer-Reviewed

Infertility among iron industry workers

Zorawar Singh*

Department of Zoology, Khalsa College, Amritsar 143001, Punjab, India
*Corresponding author: Dr. Zorawar Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Khalsa College, Amritsar 143001, Punjab, India, Tel: +91-9417230075, E-mail: zorawarsinghs@rediffmail.com
Received: 05 February, 2020 | Accepted: 18 March, 2020 | Published: 19 March, 2020
Keywords: Infertility; Occupational exposure; Industry; Chemicals; Factory workers

Cite this as

Singh Z (2020) Infertility among iron industry workers. Adv Toxicol Toxic Effects 4(1): 009-010. DOI: 10.17352/atte.000008

Occupational exposures in different industries may pose serious health impacts. A number of epidemiological studies have focused on the association of occupational exposures and adverse health effects. The need of the hour is to focus on the reproductive health of workers engaged at different jobs in varied industries. Increasing environmental as well as occupational exposures have led to serious effects on the reproductive health of workers and have also endangered the life of future generations. The present paper highlights the impact of occupational exposures on iron industry workers. Future health based researches are recommended so as to assess the impact of occupational exposures on reproductive capabilities of workers.

Occupational exposures can be the major cause of infertility. Iron industry has previously been assessed for different associated toxicities [1-5]. A wide range of studies have been conducted to assess the effects of occupations on the fertility status of workers [6-11]. Different industries involve an exposure to different sets of chemicals, nascent metals, dusts and fumes. Iron industries involve different industrial operations like welding, cutting, grinding and painting. Welding fumes may have a number of different metals including Chromium (Cr); Copper (Cu); Nickel (Ni); Manganese (Mn); and Iron (Fe). In one of the study, the incidence of trace metals in human seminal plasma and possible correlations between levels of toxic metals and semen quality was investigated; Cd and Ni were found to show significant difference (p<0.05) among three monitored groups of normo-zoospermia, oligozoospermia and azoospermia [12]. In another study, endometrial concentrations of heavy metals including cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic were investigated; and cadmium was suggested to act as a contributing factor in the etiology of unexplained infertility among 33 women subjects [13].

Cadmium can directly affect the testes. A testicular toxin and various derived compounds were shown to induce severe damage to the spermatogenic epithelium in animal models. Cadmium effect on the testes appears to be manifested mainly in the sertoli cells, which has been proved by scanning electron microscopy as increasing morphological changes. Thus toxic metals have been found to be causative agents in infertility among different populations [14-17]. Semen quality is a parameter which also affects the reproduction. Semen quality has been extensively investigated among the welders by different researchers [18-24]. Semen quality of 57 workers from a welding plant and 57 controls was monitored and sperm concentrations of exposed workers were found to be 14.5±24.0 million/ml as compared to control group (62.8±43.7 million/ml). Rapid linear sperm motility was found to be decreased in exposed workers as compared to controls and a significant positive correlation between the percentage of sperm tail defects and blood nickel concentration in exposed workers. On the other hand, sperm concentration showed a negative correlation with blood chromium content in workers [18]. Similarly, low-level exposure to hexavalent chromium associated with TIG stainless steel and mild steel welding was not found to be a major hazard for human spermatogenesis [21]. Chromium-induced reproductive toxicity was suggested to be through oxidative stress. In an another study, the distribution and temporal variability of power-frequency magnetic field exposure in men, and the correlation of exposures within couples using data from a longitudinal study of 25 men and their female partners recruited from an infertility clinic was conducted. The average and 90th percentile demonstrated fair to good reproducibility, whereas the maximum poor reproducibility was shown over repeated sampling days, each separated by a median of 4.6weeks [9].

Conclusion

Iron industry is employing a huge number of workers to meet its requirements. Workers of these industries are exposed to different sets of chemicals and physical factors after which they may suffer from various reproductive health ailments. Studies reveal a substantial decrease in the sperm count among exposed workers (14.5±24.0 million/ml) as compared to control group (62.8±43.7 million/ml). As a precautionary measure, workers should be provided proper protection equipments so as to minimize the exposure during different industrial processes. Workers should also be checked regularly for their different health parameters including reproductive health.

  1. Singh Z, Chadha P (2014) DNA Damage Due to Inhalation of Complex Metal Particulates among Foundry Workers. Adv Env Biol 8: 225-230. Link: https://bit.ly/2UceyPc
  2. Singh Z, Chadha P, Sharma S (2016) Lung Health among Welders. American J Env Occu Health 1: 6-10. Link: https://bit.ly/2WlHvuM
  3. Singh Z, Chadha P (2012) Health Concerns in Welding Industry. Int J Enh Res Sci Tech Eng 2: 1-5. Link: https://bit.ly/2Wpl4oG
  4. Singh Z, Chadha P (2013) Oxidative Stress Assessment among Iron Industry Grinders. Biochem Cell Arch 13: 65-68. Link: https://bit.ly/2xOXhnJ
  5. Singh Z, Chadha P (2016) Assessment of DNA Damage as an Index of Genetic Toxicity in Welding Micro-environments among Iron Based Industries. Tox Ind Health 32: 1817-1824. Link: https://bit.ly/2IXWJ1b
  6. Chia SE, Lim ST, Tay SK, Lim ST (2000) Factors associated with male infertility: a case-control study of 218 infertile and 240 fertile men. BJOG 107: 55-61. Link: https://bit.ly/2UjwPu3
  7. Chia SE, Tay SK (2001) Occupational risk for male infertility: a case-control study of 218 infertile and 227 fertile men. J Occup Environ Med 43: 946-951. Link: https://bit.ly/3b4FTcR
  8. Claman P (2004) Men at risk: occupation and male infertility. Fertil Steril 81: 19-26. Link: https://bit.ly/2IU5M2W
  9. Lewis RC, Hauser R, Maynard AD, Neitzel RL, Wang L, et al. (2016) Personal measures of power frequency magnetic field exposure among men from an infertility clinic: distribution, temporal variability and correlation with their female partener’s exposure. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 172: 401-408. Link: https://bit.ly/38WJwQz
  10. Melgarejo M, Mendiola J, Koch HM, Monino-Garcia M, Noguera-Velasco JA, et al. (2015) Associations between urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolite levels and reproductive parameters in men from an infertility clinic. Environ Res 137: 292-298. Link: https://bit.ly/3b70QUI
  11. Tsujimura A, Matsumiya K, Takahashi T, Yamanaka M, Koga M, et al. (2004) Effect of lifestyle factors on infertility in men. Arch Androl 50: 15-17. Link: https://bit.ly/33sm9gC
  12. Zafar A, Eqani SA, Bostan N, Cincinelli A, Tahir F, et al. (2015) Toxic metals signature in the human seminal plasma of Pakistani population and their potential role in male infertility. Environ Geochem Health 37: 515-527. Link: https://bit.ly/2TYqapX
  13. Tanrikut E, Karaer A, Celik O, Celik E, Otlu B, et al. (2014) Role of endometrial concentrations of heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic) in the aetiology of unexplained infertility. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 179: 187-190. Link: https://bit.ly/2QFDgqr
  14. Inhorn MC, King L, Nriagu JO, Kobeissi L, Hammoud N, et al. (2008) Occupational and environmental exposures to heavy metals: risk factors for male infertility in Lebanon? Reprod Toxicol 25: 203-212. Link: https://bit.ly/390WfSz
  15. Podzimek S, Prochazkova J, Pribylova L, Bartova J, Ulcova-Gallova Z, et al. (2003) Effect of heavy metals on immune reactions in patients with infertility. Cas Lek Cesk 142: 285-288. Link: https://bit.ly/391oBMe
  16. Nivsarkar M, Cherian B, Patel S (1998) A regulatory role of sulfhydryl groups in modulation of sperm membrane conformation by heavy metals: sulfhydryl groups as markers for infertility assessment. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 247: 716-718. Link: https://bit.ly/2xOVfnB
  17. Bonde JP (1993) The risk of male subfecundity attributable to welding of metals. Studies of semen quality, infertility, fertility, adverse pregnancy outcome and childhood malignancy. Int J Androl 16: 1-29. Link: https://bit.ly/2QrZ20F
  18. Danadevi K, Rozati R, Reddy PP, Grover P (2003) Semen quality of Indian welders occupationally exposed to nickel and chromium. Reprod Toxicol 17: 451-456. Link: https://bit.ly/2vziCRo
  19. Kumar S, Zaidi SS, Gautam AK, Dave LM, Saiyed HN (2003) Semen quality and reproductive hormones among welders -A preliminary study. Environ Health Prev Med 8: 64-67. Link: https://bit.ly/33pfDaG
  20. Raymond LW (1993) Semen quality in welders exposed to radiant heat. Br J Ind Med 50: 1055-1056. Link: https://bit.ly/33tJ4YU
  21. Bonde JP, Ernst E (1992) Sex hormones and semen quality in welders exposed to hexavalent chromium. Hum Exp Toxicol 11: 259-263. Link: https://bit.ly/2UeAUzv
  22. Bonde JP (1992) Semen quality in welders exposed to radiant heat. Br J Ind Med 49: 5-10. Link: https://bit.ly/2TXzGty
  23. Bonde JP (1990) Semen quality in welders before and after three weeks of non-exposure. Br J Ind Med 47: 515-518. Link: https://bit.ly/2IY8G78
  24. Bonde JP (1990) Semen quality and sex hormones among mild steel and stainless steel welders: a cross sectional study. Br J Ind Med 47: 508-514. Link: https://bit.ly/39Zpc2B
© 2020 Singh Z. This is an open-aaacess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.