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Reproductive toxicity parameters and biological monitoring in occupationally and environmentally boron-exposed persons in BandA +/- rma, Turkey

Basaran, Nursen
Ataman, Osman Yavuz
Duker, Yalcin
Ickstadt, Katja
Waltrup, Britta Schulze
Golka, Klaus
Bolt, Hermann M.
Boric acid and sodium borates have been considered as being "toxic to reproduction and development", following results of animal studies with high doses. Experimentally, a NOAEL (no observed adverse effect level) of 17.5 mg B/kg-bw/day has been identified for the (male) reproductive effects of boron in a multigeneration study of rats, and a NOAEL for the developmental effects in rats was identified at 9.6 mg B/kg-bw/day. These values are being taken as the basis of current EU safety assessments. The present study was conducted to investigate the reproductive effects of boron exposure in workers employed in boric acid production plant in BandA +/- rma, Turkey. In order to characterize the external and internal boron exposures, boron was determined in biological samples (blood, urine, semen), in workplace air, in food, and in water sources. Unfavorable effects of boron exposure on the reproductive toxicity indicators (concentration, motility, morphology of the sperm cells and blood levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and total testosterone) were not observed. The mean calculated daily boron exposure (DBE) of the highly exposed group was 14.45 +/- A 6.57 (3.32-35.62) mg/day. These human exposures represent worst-case exposure conditions to boric acid/borates in Turkey. These exposure levels are considerably lower than exposures, which have previously led to reproductive effects in experimental animals. In conclusion, this means that dose levels of boron associated with developmental and reproductive toxic effects in animals are by far not reachable for humans under conditions of normal handling and use.