Ann Occup Environ Med.  2017 ;29(1):33. 10.1186/s40557-017-0190-z.

A case of azoospermia in a non-destructive testing worker exposed to radiation

Affiliations
  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, KOSHA, Ulsan, Korea. twincokes@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Interest in radiation-related health problems has been growing with the increase in the number of workers in radiation-related jobs. Although an occupational level of radiation exposure would not likely cause azoospermia, several studies have reported the relation between radiation exposure and azoospermia after accidental or therapeutic radiation exposure. We describe a case of azoospermia in a non-destructive testing (NDT) worker exposed to radiation and discuss the problems of the related monitoring system.
CASE PRESENTATION
A 39-year-old man who was childless after 8 years of marriage was diagnosed with azoospermia through medical evaluations, including testicular biopsy. He did not have any abnormal findings on biochemical evaluations, other risk factors, or evidence of congenital azoospermia. He had been working in an NDT facility from 2005 to 2013, attaching and arranging gamma-ray films on the structures and inner spaces of ships. The patient's thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) badge recorded an exposure level of 0.01781 Gy for 80 months, whereas results of his florescence in situ hybridization (FISH) translocation assay showed an exposure level of up to 1.926 Gy of cumulative radiation, which was sufficient to cause azoospermia. Thus, we concluded that his azoospermia was caused by occupational radiation exposure.
CONCLUSION
The difference between the exposure dose records measured through TLD badge and the actual exposure dose implies that the monitor used by the NDT worker did not work properly, and such a difference could threaten the health and safety of workers. Thus, to protect the safety and health of NDT workers, education of workers and strengthening of law enforcement are required to ensure that regulations are strictly followed, and if necessary, random sampling of NDT workers using a cytogenetic dosimeter, such as FISH, should be considered.

Keyword

Azoospermia; Cytogenetic dosimetry; Non-destructive testing; Male infertility; Occupational disease; Radiation

MeSH Terms

Adult
Azoospermia*
Biopsy
Cytogenetics
Education
Humans
In Situ Hybridization
Infertility, Male
Law Enforcement
Male
Marriage
Occupational Diseases
Radiation Exposure
Risk Factors
Ships
Social Control, Formal
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