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Exposure to urban stressor and effects on free testosterone in female workers

Tomei, Gianfranco, Ciarrocca, Manuela, Fiore, Pina, Rosati, Maria Valeria, Pimpinella, Benedetta, Anzani, Maria Francesca, Giubilati, Roberto, Cangemi, Chiara, Tomao, Enrico, Tomei, Francesco
Science of the total environment 2008 v.392 no.2-3 pp. 198-202
body mass index, human resources, labor, licorice, menstrual cycle, mental health, occupational exposure, parturition, patients, police, smoking (habit), testosterone, traffic
Background: The aim of the study is to evaluate if occupational exposure to chemical, physical and psycho-social urban stressor could cause alterations in plasma free testosterone (T) levels and related diseases in female traffic police vs. control group. Patients and methods: The research was carried out on initial sample of 468 female Municipal Police employees (209 traffic police and 259 controls). After excluding the principal confounding factors, traffic police were matched with controls by age, working life, menstrual cycle day, BMI, drinking habit, cigarette smoking habit, liquorice and soy intake in diet, habitual consumption of Italian coffee. There were 96 female traffic police and 96 controls included in the study. Results: T mean levels were significantly higher in female traffic police compared to controls (p =0.000). The distribution of T values in traffic police and in controls was significant (p =0.000). No significant differences were found comparing the percentage in traffic police and controls concerning dystocial, premature and post-term birth. An increase in mental health disorders was found in traffic police compared to controls but the difference was not significant. Conclusion: The increase in T plasma levels observed in traffic police vs. controls can be due to a chronic working exposure to low doses of environmental chemical urban stressor. According to our previous researches T could be used as an early biological marker even before the onset of the related disorders.