Follicle-stimulating hormone levels in male workers exposed to urban chemical, physical, and psychosocial stressors

Toxicol Ind Health. 2009 Jul;25(6):395-402. doi: 10.1177/0748233709106466.


The aim of this study is to evaluate whether occupational exposure to urban stressors could cause alterations in the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels in traffic policemen compared to a control group. After excluding the subjects with main confounding factors, traffic policemen and male controls were matched by age, working life, body mass index (BMI), drinking habit, cigarette smoking history, and daily consumption of Italian coffee, 166 traffic policemen and 166 controls were included into the study. FSH levels were significantly higher in traffic policemen compared to male controls (P < 0.05). The distribution of FSH values in traffic policemen and controls was significant (P < 0.05). Our results suggest that occupational exposure to low doses of chemical and psychosocial stressors may alter plasma levels of FSH in traffic policemen more than in the control group. If the results obtained are confirmed by further research, the plasma levels of FSH may be used as early biological markers, valuable for the group, used in occupational set even before the appearance of disorders of male fertility.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Reference Values
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population*
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*
  • Workplace


  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Vehicle Emissions
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone