Exposure to organic solvents and adverse pregnancy outcome

Am J Ind Med. 1991;20(2):241-59. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700200210.


In a large case-control study (n = 1,926) of spontaneous abortion (SAB), exposure to solvents was ascertained by a telephone interview that asked about occupational use of 18 specific solvents or products, as well as an open-ended "other" solvent category. The adjusted odds ratio for use of any solvent was 1.1 (0.8, 1.5). Solvents for which at least a doubled crude risk of SAB was found included perchlorethylene (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 1.1, 21.1), trichloroethylene (OR = 3.1, CI = 0.9, 10.4), and paint thinners (OR = 2.3, CI = 1.0, 5.1). Comparing exposure greater than 10 hours per week versus less did not show consistent dose-response effects. By solvent class, an association was seen with aliphatic solvents (adjusted OR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1, 3.0), but there was no dose-response effect by hours of use. Household use of solvent-containing products was generally not strongly associated with SAB, nor did it appear to confound the association seen with occupational use. From this and other studies, occupational exposure to at least some solvents appears associated with SAB. The associations of solvent exposure and fetal growth among liveborn offspring of controls was also examined.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / chemically induced
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Solvents / classification


  • Solvents