Perinatal Health and Infertility
Several worldwide studies have linked diesel exhaust exposure to low birth weight in infants, premature births, congenital abnormalities, and elevated infant mortality rate.[63,64,65,66] DEPs caused a significant decrease in adult sperm production and a diminished number of Sertoli cells in an animal model. Other studies have shown aberration of sex hormone production and effect in chronically exposed female rats, with increased levels of testosterone and subsequent masculinization. Pregnant rats exposed to DEPs had higher rates of spontaneous abortions. There are few human epidemiologic studies, but one study demonstrated a negative effect of DEPs on human sperm motility. Another compound isolated from DEPs, 4-nitrophenol (PNP), has been identified as a vasodilator. One study group demonstrated that PNP has estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities in vivo, leading to sterility. The accumulation of PNP in air, water, and soil may be one factor in the increasing incidence of sterility in humans and animals, but epidemiologic studies are pending.
J Am Board Fam Med. 2008;21(1):55-62. © 2008 American Board of Family Medicine
This article was externally peer reviewed.
Cite this: The Toxicity of Diesel Exhaust: Implications for Primary Care - Medscape - Jan 01, 2008.