Occupational Exposure to Chlordecone and Dibromochloropropane

Occupational exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances, i.e., chlordecone and dibromochloropropane (DBCP), in the work place have been associated with reduced fertility, lowered sperm counts, and/or endocrine alterations in male workers. Workers in Hopewell, Virginia, exposed to high levels of chlordecone, an estrogenic and neurotoxic organochlorine pesticide, displayed obvious signs of intoxication which included severe neurotoxicity and abnormal testicular function [60]. As this cohort was not followed, it is not known if the effects of chlordecone were completely reversible. DBCP is a pesticide that appears to alter the endocrine system indirectly. DBCP-exposed workers were infertile, displaying reduced sperm numbers and altered Sertoli cell function, as indicated by an elevation of serum FSH (presumably through a decline in Sertoli cell inhibin secretion) [61]. When administered to rats during perinatal life, the effects of DBCP are more complex. Prenatal DBCP-treatment alters sexual and testicular differentiation [62]. Male rat offspring, whose dams were treated with 25 mg DBCP/kg on days 14 to 19 of pregnancy, displayed a 90% reduction in testis weight, altered hypothalamic morphometry, a lack of male mating behavior, and increased female-like sex behavior. Taken together, these results indicate that DBCP-treatment during sexual differentiation interferes with testicular development and testosterone production, resulting in antian-drogenic effects in the male offspring.

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