Keywords: radiologists, radiological technologists, reproductive health, pregnancy outcomes, Iran, low radiation, radiation dose, spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, congenital abnormalities, occupational exposure, ionising radiation
Are radiologists and radiological technologists at greater risk of reproductive health problems? Data from seven provinces in Iran
Many radiation workers believe that occupational exposures have the potential to interfere with their normal reproductive function. In this study, a total of 621 radiation workers (336 females and 285 males) who worked in hospitals/clinics in seven different provinces were randomly selected. All the participants were interviewed and the reports of their previous exposures, as recorded by film badge, thermoluminescent dosimeter or pen dosimeters, were investigated. Only 47 participants (7.57%) had a history of receiving doses above the background level. The overall prevalence of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and congenital abnormalities were 10.67%, 1.21% and 1.71%, respectively. The rates of occurrence of at least one lifetime disorder for spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital abnormality in 238 female radiation workers who had a history of previous pregnancy were 20.17%, 3.12% and 4.47%, respectively. Among 238 female radiation workers who had a history of previous pregnancies, 79.83% had no history of spontaneous abortion while 13.02%, 5.88% and 1.26% had one, two and three or more previous abortions. The boy/girl ratio in children born to male and to female radiation workers were 1.10 and 1.03, respectively. It can be concluded that the occupational exposures of radiologists and radiological technologists to common levels of ionising radiation cannot significantly affect their reproductive health.