Objectives: This study examined the possibility that work in greenhouses with potential exposure to pesticides entails a risk for reduced fecundity in terms of increased time to pregnancy.
Methods: Among 1767 female members of the Danish Gardeners Trade Union, telephone interview data were obtained on the 492 most recent pregnancies of women employed when they stopped contraception to get a child (the starting time). The pregnancies were classified according to job characteristics at the starting time. The ratio between the likelihood of pregnancy during a month for the exposed persons versus the referents (the fecundability ratio) was estimated by discrete proportional hazards regression.
Results: The adjusted fecundability ratio for workers in flower greenhouses versus other union members was 1.11 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.90-1.36]. Among workers in flower greenhouses the handling of cultures many hours per week, the spraying of pesticides, and the nonuse of gloves was related to reduced fecundability [adjusted fecundability ratio 0.69 (95% CI 0.47-1.03), 0.78 (95% CI 0.59-1.06), and 0.67 (95% CI 0.46-0.98), respectively].
Conclusions: The findings suggest that female workers in flower greenhouses may have reduced fecundability and that exposure to pesticides may be part of the causal chain. Additional studies of fertility among women working in greenhouses are highly warranted.