Seveso Women's Health Study: A study of the effects of 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on reproductive health

Brenda Eskenazi, Paolo Mocarelli, Marcella Warner, Steven Samuels, Paolo Vercellini, David Olive, Larry Needham, Donald Patterson, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Although reproductive effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exposure have been reported in numerous investigations of animals, studies of this association in humans are limited. In 1976, an explosion in Seveso, Italy exposed the surrounding population to among the highest levels of TCDD recorded in humans. The relatively pure exposure to TCDD and the ability to quantify individual level TCDD exposure from sera collected in 1976 for the Seveso cohort affords a unique opportunity to evaluate the potential dose-response relationship between TCDD exposure and a spectrum of reproductive endpoints. The Seveso Women's Health Study (SWHS) is the first comprehensive study of the reproductive health of a human population exposed to TCDD. The primary objectives of the study are to investigate the relationship of TCDD and the following endpoints: (1) endometriosis; (2) menstrual cycle characteristics; (3) age at menarche; (4) birth outcomes of pregnancies conceived after 1976; (5) time to conception and clinical infertility; and (6) age at menopause. Included in the SWHS cohort are women who were 0-40 yr old in 1976, who have adequate stored sera collected between 1976 and 1980, and who resided in Zones A or B at the time of the accident. All women were interviewed extensively about their reproductive and pregnancy history and had a blood draw. For an eligible subset of women, a pelvic exam and transvaginal ultrasound were conducted and a menstrual diary was completed. More than 95% of the women were located 20 yr after the accident and roughly 80% of the cohort agreed to participate. Data collection was completed in July 1998, serum TCDD analysis of samples for analysis of endometriosis as a nested case-control study was completed in October 1998, and statistical analysis of these data should be completed in early 1999. Serum samples are now being analyzed in order to relate TCDD levels with the remaining reproductive outcomes. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1253
Number of pages7
Issue number9-11
StatePublished - May 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Seveso Women's Health Study: A study of the effects of 2,3,7,8- tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on reproductive health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this