Prospective monitoring of early fetal loss and clinical spontaneous abortion among female semiconductor workers

Am J Ind Med. 1995 Dec;28(6):833-46. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700280615.


Women who work in silicon wafer fabrication rooms (fabs) have been reported to have an increased risk of spontaneous abortion (SAB). Although previous studies have included only clinically recognized SABs, more than two-thirds of SABs may be clinically unrecognized. To determine whether fab work is associated with SAB, we recruited 152 fab and 251 nonfab workers, who collected urine samples for a 6-month period. Samples were analyzed by immunoradiometric assay for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin to detect early fetal losses. Approximately 63% of fab and 46% of nonfab pregnancies ended in SAB [adjusted relative risk (RR) = 1.25; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.63-1.76]. Similar RR were seen for women who worked in dopant and thin-film processes (adjusted RR = 1.30; 95% CI = 0.51-1.96) or in masking (adjusted RR = 1.30; 95% CI = 0.59-1.84). The four pregnancies among women who worked with ethylene-based glycol ethers ended in SAB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Semiconductors*
  • Silicones


  • Silicones