Maternal occupational exposure to selected organic and chlorinated solvents and delivery of small-for-gestational age or preterm infants

Kristen W. Van Buren, Carissa M. Rocheleau, I. Chen Chen, Tania A. Desrosiers, Wayne T. Sanderson, Maria D. Politis, Elizabeth C. Ailes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Potential reproductive effects of organic solvent exposure during pregnancy remain unclear. We investigated the association between maternal occupational exposure during pregnancy to six chlorinated solvents, three aromatic solvents, and Stoddard solvent, and delivery of preterm infants or those born small-for-gestational age (SGA). Methods: In this case–control study of SGA and preterm birth (PTB) nested within the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) from 1997 to 2011, we analyzed data from 7504 singleton live births without major birth defects and their mothers. Self-reported information on jobs held in the periconceptional period was assessed for solvent exposure. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate the association between maternal occupational exposure (any, none) during early pregnancy to organic solvents and PTB and SGA. Linear regression was used to examine changes in mean birthweight potentially associated with maternal occupational solvent exposure. Results: Maternal occupational exposure to any organic solvents overall was not associated with an increased odds of PTB (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.67–1.33) or SGA (aOR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.65–1.34). Point estimates increased modestly for higher estimated exposure versus lower, but confidence intervals were wide and not statistically significant. Maternal exposure to solvents was not associated with a statistically significant change in term birthweight among infants. Conclusions: Occupational exposure to organic solvents at the frequency and intensity levels found in a population-based sample of pregnant workers was not associated with PTB or SGA; however, we cannot rule out any effects among pregnant workers with uncommonly high exposure to organic solvents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-853
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • SGA
  • birth weight
  • occupation
  • organic solvents
  • pregnancy
  • preterm birth
  • reproductive health
  • worker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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