Fertility and semen quality of workers exposed to high temperatures in the ceramics industry

Reprod Toxicol. 1992;6(6):517-23. doi: 10.1016/0890-6238(92)90036-s.


The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that chronic occupational exposure to high temperatures may be detrimental to male reproduction. The study was based on 92 healthy ceramics oven operators with a long exposure to high temperatures, and 87 controls, recruited from the shipment department of the same industry. Interviews with all subjects provided data on sociodemographic characteristics, health status, and fertility problems. Semen analysis was carried out on 46 of the workers exposed to high temperatures, and 14 of the controls, and included evaluation of the sperm concentration, morphology, and motility, including computer-assisted sperm motion analysis (velocity, linearity, ALH, BCF). The results of the questionnaire showed that exposed individuals had a higher incidence of childlessness and of self-reported difficulty in conceiving than controls. The semen analysis showed no significant differences except in sperm velocity. Although differences in semen parameters, taken singly, were not statistically significant, the overall evaluation of the sperm parameters indicated a higher prevalence of pathologic sperm profiles among the exposed compared to the controls.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ceramics
  • Fertility*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Semen*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires