Effects of Gasoline Inhalation on Menstrual Characteristics and the Hormonal Profile of Female Petrol Pump Workers


Increasing numbers of young women are employed as gasoline station attendants in most developing countries despite the lack of empirical data on the adverse reproductive health effect of this solvent. This study therefore sought to assess the effects of gasoline inhalation on the serum sex hormone profile and menstrual characteristics of female gasoline station attendants in Nigeria, given the global increase in the rate of infertility and the existing evidence on the reproductive toxicity of gasoline constituents. A site-by-site cross-sectional study of 117 female gasoline pump attendants and 118 age-matched controls was carried out between September 2011 and November 2012. The following 3 instruments were used for data collection: a semi-structured questionnaire, a female sex hormone profile assay and exposure status measures. The prevalence of menstrual disorders among the exposed and unexposed women was 37.2% and 28.5% respectively. Exposure to gasoline was significantly associated with disorders in both menstrual cycle length and quantity of flow. Specifically, exposed women had a greater than threefold increased risk of a menstrual disorder, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.25 for abnormal cycle length and OR of 4.16 for abnormal quantity of flow. In addition, longer duration of exposure (>1 year) was significantly associated with higher likelihood of menstrual disorders. There were also persistent low serum levels of estradiol, and fluctuating levels of other reproductive hormones. Gasoline inhalation may interfere with ovarian functions leading to disordered menstrual characteristics and female sex hormone profiles, as well as future reproductive impairment.

Share and Cite:

C. Ekpenyong, K. Davies and N. Daniel, "Effects of Gasoline Inhalation on Menstrual Characteristics and the Hormonal Profile of Female Petrol Pump Workers," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 8A, 2013, pp. 65-73. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.48A1009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] S. Kumar, “Occupational Exposure Association with Reproductive Dysfunction,” Journal of Occupational Health, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2004, pp. 1-19. doi:10.1539/joh.46.1
[2] D. H. Kim, H. Lee, C. K. Lee, D. S. Kang, J. H. Kin, J. T. Lee, J. H. Chun and C. K. Lee, “Effects of Toluene, Xylene and Trichloroethylene on the Regulation of GnRH, RnRH Reception and Pit-1 Gene Expression in male Rat Hypothalamus and Pituitary,” Korean Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1998, pp. 267-281.
[3] B. Runnebaum, T. Rabe, M. Sillem and W. Eggert-Kruse, “Infertility,” In: B. Runnebaum and T. Rabe, Eds., Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1997, pp. 107-164. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-60390-7
[4] M. R. Azari, Z. N. Konjin, F. Z. Salehpour and M. D. Seyedi, “Occupational Exposure of Petroleum Depot workers to BTEX Compounds,” International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012, pp. 39-44.
[5] R. Cecil, R. J. Ellison, K. Larminaa, S. A. Margary, J. M. Mata and L. Morcillo, “Exposure Profile: Gasoline,” CONCAWE Report, CONCAWE, Brussels, 1997.
[6] S. C. Edminster and M. J. Bayer, “Recreational Gasoline Sniffing, Acute Gasoline Intoxication and Latent Organolead Poisoning: Case Reports and Literature Review,” Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 5, 1985, pp. 365-370. doi:10.1016/0736-4679(85)90321-X
[7] S. Cairney, P. Maruff, C. Burns and B. Currie, “The Neurobehavioural Consequences of Petrol (Gasoline) Sniffing,” Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2002, pp. 81-89. doi:10.1016/S0149-7634(01)00040-9
[8] W. Machle, “Gasoline Intoxication,” Journal of the American Medicinal Association, Vol. 177, No. 23, 1941, pp. 1965-1971. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820490039013
[9] C. C. Ugwoke, E. D. Nwobodo, P. Unekwe, M. Odike, S. T. Chukwuma and G. Amilo, “The Reproductive Dysfunction Effects of Gasoline Inhalation in Albino Rats,” Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 1-2, 2005, pp. 54-57.
[10] L. Fraier and M. L. Hage, “Reproductive Hazard of Workplaces,” Wiley, New York, 1997.
[11] C. N. Humfrey and L. L. Smith, “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals,” In: P. W. Harvey, K. C. Rush and A. Cockborn, Eds., The Evidence for Human Health Effects in Endocrine and Hormonal Toxicity, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1999, p. 421.
[12] R. J. Kavlock, et al., “Research Needs for the Risk Assessment of Health and Environmental Disruptors: A Report of U.S. EPA-Sponsored Workshop,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 104, No. S4, 1996, pp. 715-740.
[13] P. Nicolopoulou-Stamati and M. A. Pitsos, “The Impact of Endocrine Disrupters on the Female Reproductive System,” Human Reproductive Update, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2000, pp. 323-330. doi:10.1093/humupd/7.3.323
[14] D. R. Mattison, D. R. Plowehalk, M. J. Meadow, A. Z. Al-Juburi, J. Gardy and A. Malek, “Reproductive Toxicity: Male and Female Reproductive Systems as Targets for Chemical Injury,” Medical Clinics of North America, Vol. 74, No. 2, 1990, pp. 391-411.
[15] Y. Verma and S. V. Rana, “Endocrinal Toxicity of Industrial Solvents—A Mini Review,” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 47, No. 7, 2009, pp. 537-549.
[16] H. Chen, L. Song, X. Wang and S. Wang, “Effect of Exposure to Low Concentration of Benzene and Its Analogues on Luteal Function of Female Workers,” Wei Sheng Yan Jiu, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2000, pp. 351-353.
[17] V. G. Matysiak, “The Effect of Benzene Fumes on the Functional Activity of Hypophysis, Adrenals and Ovaries of White Rats under Experimental Condition,” Godisen Zbornik na Medicinskiot Fakultet vo Skopje, Vol. 14, 1968, pp. 98-100.
[18] S. Rowland, D. D. Barid, G. Longs, S. D. Wegienka, M. Harlow and D. P. Alavanja, “Influence of Medical Conditions and Life Style Factors on the Menstrual Cycle,” Epidemiology, Vol. 13, No. 6, 2002, pp. 668-674. doi:10.1097/00001648-200211000-00011
[19] M. Paul, “Occupational Reproductive Hazards,” The Lancet, Vol. 349, No. 9062, 1997, pp. 1385-1388. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(96)07217-0
[20] C. C. Lin, C. N. Huang, Y. H. Hwang, J. D. Wang, S. P. Weng, R. H. Shie and P. C. Chem, “Shortened Menstrual Cycles in LCD Manufacturing Workers,” Occupational Medicine, Vol. 63, No. 1, 2013, pp. 45-52. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqs172
[21] G. Pandya, A. Gavane and V. Kondawar, “Assessment of Occupational Exposure to VOCs at the Gantry Gasoline terminal,” Environmental Science and Engineering, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2006, pp. 175-182.
[22] N. Hopf, J. Kirkeleit, M. Bratveit, P. Succop, G. Talaska and B. E. Moen, “Evaluation of Exposure Biomarkers in Offshore Workers Exposed to Low Benzene and Toluene Concentrations,” International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 85, No. 3, 2011, pp. 261-271.
[23] Y. Lui, E. B. Gold, B. L. Lasley and W. O. Johnson, “Factors Affecting Menstrual Cycle Characteristics,” American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 160, No. 2, 2004, pp. 131-140. doi:10.1093/aje/kwh188
[24] G. Toft, A. Axmon, C. Lindh, A. Giwereman and J. P. Bonde, “Menstrual Cycle Characteristics in European and Inuit Women Exposed to Persistent Organochlorine Pollutants,” Human Reproduction, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2008, pp. 193-200. doi:10.1093/humrep/dem349
[25] World Health Organization (WHO), “Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic: Environmental and Societal Influences,” WHO, Geneva, 2000, pp. 118-122.
[26] M. J. Faddy, R. G. Gasden, A. Gougeon, S. J. Richardson and J. F. Nelson, “Accelerated Disappearance of Ovarian Follicles in Mid-Life: Implication for Forecasting Menopause,” Human Reproduction, Vol. 7, No. 10, 1992, pp. 1342-1346.
[27] V. Sirotkin, A. Kadas, A. Balazá, Z. Baková, Z. Halim, A. Harrath, A. V. Makarevich, A. Kolesárova, P. Chrenek, J. Kotwica and T. Toth, “Influence of Petrochemical Industry Environment Contaminants on Animal Ovarian Cells,” Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2012, pp. 517-525.
[28] R. R. Maronpot, “Ovarian Toxicity and Carcinogenicity in Eight Recent National Toxicology Program Studies,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 73, 1987, pp. 125-130. doi:10.1289/ehp.8773125
[29] J. H. Hannigan and E. S. Bowen, “Reproductive Toxicology and Teratology of Abused Toluene,” Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, Vol. 56, No. 2, 2010, pp. 184-200.
[30] A. Sato and T. Nkajima, “Pharmacokinetics of Organic Solvent Vapors in Relation to Their Toxicity,” Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1987, pp. 81-93.
[31] D. M. Robertson, G. E. Hale, D. Jolley, I. S. Fraser, C. L. Hughes and H. G. Burger, “Interrelationships between Ovarian and Pituitary Hormones in Ovulatory Menstrual Cycles across Reproductive Age,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 91, No. 1, 2009, pp. 138-144.
[32] M. Mukhametova and Vozovaya, “Reproductive Power and the Incidence of Gynecological Disorders in Female Workers Exposed to the Combined Effect of Benzene and Chlorinated Hydrocarbons,” Gig Tr Prof Zabol, Vol. 16, 1972, pp. 6-9. (in Russian)
[33] X. Y. Huang, “Influence on Benzene and Toluene to Reproductive Functions of Female Workers in Leather Shoe Making Industry,” Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 2, 1991, pp. 89-91.
[34] K. Sexton, S. H. Linder, D. Marko, H. Bethal and P. J. Lupo, “Comparative Assessment of Air Pollution-Related Health Risks in Houston,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 115, No. 10, 2007, pp. 1388-1393.
[35] R. M. Guisti, K. Iwamoto and E. E. Hatch, “Diethylstilbestrol Revisited: A Review of the Long-Term Health Effects,” Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 122, No. 10, 1995, 778-788. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-122-10-199505150-00008
[36] B. M. Sherman and S. G. Koreman, “Hormonal Characteristics of Human Menstrual Cycle throughout Reproductive Life,” The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1975, pp. 699-706. doi:10.1172/JCI107979

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.