Seveso Women’s Health Study Findings

Age and Dioxin Exposure:

  • Women who were youngest at the time of the accident were the most highly exposed to dioxin.

Menarche, Menstruation, Menopause and Dioxin Exposure:

  • Dioxin exposure is associated with a non-significant increased risk of starting menstruation earlier among women who were less than 5 years old at exposure.
  • Among women exposed premenarcheally, there is an approximate one day increase in menstrual cycle length for every 10-fold increase in dioxin levels.
  • There is a non-monotonic dose-response relationship between dioxin exposure and earlier onset of natural menopause for lipid-adjusted dioxin levels up to  100 parts per trillion, but not above.

Fertility, Birth Outcomes and Dioxin Exposure:

  • Dioxin exposure is significantly associated with increased risk for infertility and longer time to pregnancy.
  • There is some evidence that dioxin exposure is associated with lower birth weight, especially among pregnancies that occurred within 9 years of the explosion (approximately one dioxin half-life).
  • There is a non-significant reduction in duration of lactation with increasing dioxin levels.

Women’s Health and Dioxin Exposure:

  • Among women highly exposed to dioxin, there is a decreased risk of uterine fibroids.
  • Dioxin exposure is associated with a non-significant increased risk of endometriosis.
  • Twenty years after the explosion, there is a significant increased risk for breast cancer associated with dioxin, but this cohort is young for cancer, so the relationship may become clearer as the cohort ages.

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