Paternal and maternal exposure to welding fumes and metal dusts or fumes and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Original Article



We assessed whether paternal exposure prior to conception and maternal exposure during pregnancy to welding fumes (WF) and metal dusts or fumes (MD/F) independently and jointly increases the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and small-for-gestational age.


The study population was selected from The Finnish Prenatal Environment and Health Study of 2,568 newborns (response rate 94%) and included 1,670 women who worked during pregnancy of which 68 were exposed either to WF and/or MD/F.


The risk of SGA was related to maternal exposure to WF only (adjusted OR = 1.78; 95% CI 0.53–5.99), MD/F only (adjusted OR = 1.77; 95% CI 0.38–8.35) and both exposures (2.92; 1.26–6.78). The corresponding effect estimates for preterm delivery were 2.66 (0.32–22.08), 5.64 (1.14–27.81) and for birth weight below 3,000 g 3.79 (1.09–13.19), 1.85 (0.56–6.14) and 1.70 (0.70–4.15), respectively. There was some suggestive, inconsistent evidence that the risk of preterm delivery and SGA is related to paternal exposure to WF.


The present results provide evidence that maternal exposure to WF or MD/F combination during pregnancy may reduce fetal growth and suggestive evidence that paternal exposure to WF may increase the risk of preterm delivery and small-for-gestational age. The small number of exposed women and the lack of data for exposure concentrations suggest the need for further study to verify our findings.


Welding fumes Metal dust or fumes Maternal exposure Paternal exposure Adverse pregnancy outcome 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Occupational and Environmental MedicineUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Institute of Health SciencesUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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