Gonadotoxic Effects of DBCP: A Historical Review and Current Concepts

Kathleen Hwang1, Michael L. Eisenberg2, Rustin C. Walters3, Larry I. Lipshultz* , 4
1 Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
2 Stanford University, San Francisco, California, USA
3 Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA
4 Lester and Sue Smith Chair in Reproductive Medicine, Division of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA

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Creative Commons License
Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Quinn Medical Tower at St. Luke’s, 6624 Fannin Street, Suite 1700, Houston, Texas 77030, USA; Tel: (713) 798-6163; Fax: (713) 798-6007;


Dibromo-chloro-propane (DBCP), a persistent liphophilic brominated organochlorine, has been produced for agricultural purposes as a nematocide since the 1950s. Widespread use due to its effectiveness as a pesticide continued until the late 1970s when early reports of its toxicity emerged from the laboratories, particularly its impact on spermatogenesis and other adverse reproductive health effects. Since then innumerable cases and studies have surfaced with clear impact after exposure to DBCP, however, the sustained effect of this exposure has yet to be completely understood. As a result of these studies, environmental agencies banned almost all agricultural uses of DBCP in the United States in the late 1970s. This review will try to balance the known toxicity of DBCP with a scientific assessment of published data and a summary of the legal issues that have resulted.

Keywords : Gonadotoxic, DBCP, sperm, legal.