We investigated self-reported occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs, anesthetic gases, antiviral drugs, sterilizing agents (disinfectants), and X-rays and the risk of spontaneous abortion in U.S. nurses.
Pregnancy outcome and occupational exposures were collected retrospectively from 8,461 participants of the Nurses’ Health Study II. Of these, 7,482 were eligible for analysis using logistic regression.
Participants reported 6,707 live births, and 775 (10%) spontaneous abortions (<20 weeks). After adjusting for age, parity, shift work, and hours worked, antineoplastic drug exposure was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of spontaneous abortion, particularly with early spontaneous abortion before the 12th week, and 3.5-fold increased risk among nulliparous women. Exposure to sterilizing agents was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of late spontaneous abortion (12–20 weeks), but not with early spontaneous abortion.
This study suggests that certain occupational exposures common to nurses are related to risks of spontaneous abortion.