Menstrual function in workers exposed to toluene

Br J Ind Med. 1992 Nov;49(11):799-803. doi: 10.1136/oem.49.11.799.


Rates of menstrual disorders were studied in 231 female production workers with high exposure to toluene (mean 88 (range 50-150 ppm) in a factory manufacturing audio speakers and compared with a control group of 58 female production workers in other departments in the same factory who had little or no exposure to toluene (0-25 ppm). An external community control group of 187 working class women under routine care at public maternal and child health centres were also studied. Detailed menstrual and reproductive histories were obtained by personal interview using a structured questionnaire. The rates for dysfunctional uterine bleeding (cycle irregularity and prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding) were similar in all groups. Dysmenorrhoea seemed to occur more often in the women highly exposed to toluene compared with women at maternal and child health centres, but not compared with factory controls with low exposure to toluene. There was no evidence that dysfunctional uterine bleeding was likely to result from exposure to toluene. It is uncertain whether dysmenorrhoea was associated specifically with exposure to toluene, as other behavioural and work related factors may also result in dysmenorrhoea.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dysmenorrhea / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects
  • Menstruation Disturbances / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Toluene / adverse effects*


  • Toluene