Background: Many chemical agents used in liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing have been evaluated in animal studies of female reproductive toxicity. Knowledge of their reproductive toxicity in humans is scant.
Aims: To determine the effect of organic solvents on menstrual cycle characteristics of workers in LCD manufacturing.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of female premenopausal workers in an LCD plant in Taiwan. Menstrual cycle characteristics were assessed from self-administered questionnaires, and chemical exposure was assessed using hand-held volatile organic compound (VOC) monitors with 24h canister sampling.
Results: There was a response rate of 94%, and the final study population after exclusions was 288. Canister sampling found many chemical compounds with potential reproductive effects in the fabrication areas of the plant. Concentrations of total VOC were higher in the panel and module fabrication areas than in other areas of the plant. The prevalence of short menstrual cycles (>24 days) was higher in panel workers (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 7.68; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.51-39.15) and module workers (adjusted OR: 8.38; 95% CI: 1.72-40.95) than in array fabrication workers and office workers.
Conclusions: We found evidence for a possible link between repeated exposure to multiple organic solvents such as ethanol and acetone and increased prevalence of short menstrual cycles in premenopausal women.