Exposure to traffic pollutants and effects on 17-β-estradiol (E2) in female workers

  • Gianfranco Tomei
  • Manuela Ciarrocca
  • Bruna Rita Fortunato
  • Assunta Capozzella
  • Maria Valeria Rosati
  • Daniela Cerratti
  • Enrico Tomao
  • Vincenza Anzelmo
  • Carlo Monti
  • Francesco TomeiEmail author
Original Article


Objective: The aim of the study is to evaluate whether the occupational exposure to urban pollutants including endocrine disruptors (EDs) could cause alterations in plasma 17-β-estradiol (E2) levels and related diseases (adverse pregnancy outcome and mental health disorders) in female traffic police compared to a control group. Methods: After excluding the subjects with the principal confounding factors, traffic police and controls were matched by age, years of police work, age of menarche, menstrual cycle day, body mass index (BMI), drinking habit, cigarette smoking habit, habitual intake of soy or liquorice in diet and habitual consumption of Italian coffee. Thirty-seven traffic police and 31 controls (seventh day; follicular phase of the ovarian cycle); 38 traffic police and 42 controls (14th day; ovulatory phase of the ovarian cycle); and 25 traffic police and 28 controls (21st day; lutheal phase of the ovarian cycle) were included in the study and then matched for the above-mentioned variables. Results: In follicular and in lutheal phases, mean E2 levels were significantly lower in traffic police compared to controls. The distribution of E2 values in traffic police and controls was significant in follicular, ovulatory and lutheal phases. In ovulatory phase, mean E2 levels were lower but not significant in traffic police compared to controls. An increase was found concerning mental health disorders referred to in the questionnaire items in traffic police compared to controls, although the difference was not significant. Conclusions: Considering that the potential confounding effect of extraneous factors was controlled for by restricting the study population and by matching traffic police and controls on the above-mentioned variables, our results suggest that occupational exposure to urban pollutants, EDs included, might alter E2 plasma concentrations. E2 could be used in occupational set as an early biomarker of exposure to urban pollutants, valuable for the group, even before the onset of the related pathologies (adverse pregnancy outcome and mental health disorders).


17-β-estradiol (E2) Traffic police Urban pollutants Female reproductive health diseases Mental health diseases 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianfranco Tomei
    • 1
  • Manuela Ciarrocca
    • 1
  • Bruna Rita Fortunato
    • 1
  • Assunta Capozzella
    • 1
  • Maria Valeria Rosati
    • 1
  • Daniela Cerratti
    • 1
  • Enrico Tomao
    • 2
  • Vincenza Anzelmo
    • 3
  • Carlo Monti
    • 1
  • Francesco Tomei
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Occupational MedicineUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Center for Aeromedical Evaluation and Occupational Medicine IMLITAFRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Occupational MedicineMunicipality of RomeRomeItaly
  4. 4.RomeItaly

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