Journal of Korean medical science

Occupational reproductive function abnormalities and bladder cancer in Korea.

PMID 21258590


The purpose of this study was to review occupational reproductive abnormalities and occupational bladder cancer in Korea and to discuss their toxicological implications. Reproductive dysfunction as a result of 2-bromopropane poisoning was first reported in Korean workers. In 1995, 23 of the 33 workers (25 female and 8 male workers) who were exposed to 2-bromopropane during the assembly of tactile switch parts developed reproductive and/or hematopoietic disorders. A total of 17 (68%) workers were diagnosed with ovarian failure. Two of the eight male workers experienced azoospermia and four workers experienced some degree of oligospermia or reduced sperm motility. In summary, 2-bromopropane poisoning caused severe reproductive effects in Korean workers. The prognosis was poor for reproductive dysfunction. A few cases of occupational bladder cancer have been reported in Korea, whereas other cancers of the urinary tract have not been reported after occupational exposure. A few cases of benzidine-induced cancer have been reported in Korea and 592 workers in Japan have received compensation for benzidine and β-naphthylamine-induced cancer. In conclusion, a few cases of benzidine-induced occupational bladder cancer have been reported in Korea. However, benzidine-induced bladder cancer will likely be an important occupational health issue in Korea in the coming years.