Paternal organic solvent exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis

Am J Ind Med. 2005 Jan;47(1):37-44. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20102.


Background: Organic solvents are widely used, but conflicting reports exist concerning paternal exposure and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess the risks of spontaneous abortions (SAs) and major malformations (MMs) after paternal exposure to organic solvents.

Methods: Medline, Toxline, Reprotox, and Embase from 1966 to 2003 were searched. Two independent reviewers searched for cohort and case-control studies in any language on adult human males exposed chronically to any organic solvent. Two non-blinded independent extractors used a standardized form for data extraction; disagreements were resolved through consensus discussion.

Results: Forty-seven studies were identified; 32 exclusions left 14 useable studies. Overall random effects odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI95%) were 1.30 (CI95%: 0.81-2.11, N=1,248) for SA, 1.47 (CI95%: 1.18-1.83, N=384,762) for MMs, 1.86 (CI95%: 1.40-2.46, N=180,242) for any neural tube defect, 2.18 (CI95%: 1.52-3.11, N=107,761) for anencephaly, and 1.59 (CI95%: 0.99-2.56, N=96,517; power=56.3%) for spina bifida.

Conclusions: Paternal exposure to organic solvents is associated with an increased risk for neural tube defects but not SAs.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Paternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Solvents / adverse effects*


  • Solvents