Occupation and Semen Parameters in a Cohort of Fertile Men

John D. Meyer, Charlene Brazil, J. Bruce Redmon, Christina Wang, Amy E. Sparks, Shanna H. Swan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective We examined associations between occupation and semen parameters in demonstrably fertile men in the Study for Future Families. Methods Associations of occupation and workplace exposures with semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, and morphology were assessed using generalized linear modeling. Results Lower sperm concentration and motility were seen in installation, maintenance, and repair occupations. Higher exposure to lead, and to other toxicants, was seen in occupations with lower mean sperm concentrations (prevalence ratio for lead: 4.1; pesticides/insecticides: 1.6; solvents: 1.4). Working with lead for more than 3 months was associated with lower sperm concentration, as was lead exposure outside of work. Conclusions We found evidence in demonstrably fertile men for reduced sperm quality with lead, pesticide/herbicide, and solvent exposure. These results may identify occupations where protective measures against male reproductive toxicity might be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-838
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding sources: This work was supported by the following grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institute for Occupational Safety and the National Institutes of Health (OH011540) (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) and ES09916 (University of Missouri).

Funding Information:
Conflicts of Interest: Amy E. Sparks acknowledges support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals. J. Bruce Redmon and Shanna Swan were supported on the original Study for Future Families work by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant ES09916.

Publisher Copyright:
© Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • infertility
  • occupational exposures
  • occupational reproductive hazards


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