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For Debate: Impotence in Farm Workers using Toxic Chemicals

Br Med J 1970; 1 doi: (Published 14 February 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;1:423
  1. Michael L. E. Espir,
  2. J. W. Hall,
  3. J. G. Shirreffs,
  4. David L. Stevens


    Four out of five members of a team of farmworkers who had been using various herbicides and pesticides in intensive agriculture became impotent. Sexual function recovered after further contact with the chemicals was stopped and hormone therapy had been given, though in one case this took about a year. We have not been able to incriminate one particular substance, but with the circumstantial evidence and the lack of any other obvious cause it seems likely that the impotence was due to the toxic effects of one or more of the chemicals being used.

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