Some chemicals and infectious agents may also be harmful to the pregnancy and hazardous to the foetus. Such agents are often referred to generally as 'reprotoxic substances'. They include a variety of potentially harmful chemical agents e. Prevention of the harmful effects of occupational exposures requires assessment and management of reproductive risks in the workplace. European legislation obliges employers to ensure that the work environment is safe for the reproductive health of the workers, pregnant workers, and offspring. Effects of occupational exposure on the reproductive system of men and women may become manifest as alterations in sex hormone levels, diminished libido and potency, menstrual disorders, premature menopause, delayed menarche, ovarian dysfunction, impairment of semen quality, and reduced male and female fertility.
Reproductive effects caused by chemical and biological agents
Reproductive and Developmental Toxicants
Recently, Polish authorities discovered a free range farm whose eggs exceeded national standards for dioxin contamination two-fold. Piskorska-Pliszczynska et al. They took specimens from the commercial feed and the soil of the free range areas. A veterinarian also performed necropsies and sampled muscle, abdominal fat, liver tissue, ovarian follicles, and whole eggs present in the oviducts. The commercial feed samples were below the limit 1. The soil samples presented values of
Microbial contamination in an in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer system.
Developmental toxicants interfere with proper growth or health of the child acting at any point from conception to puberty. The greatest susceptibility to reproductive toxicants in women is usually during the first three to twelve weeks of pregnancy. During this period, a woman may not know that she is pregnant. The nature and severity of the adverse effects depend on how much of the hazard the individual is exposed to, when and for how long, and how by what route of exposure. In order to appropriately recognize and control chemicals that may cause an increased risk of harm, three categories have been established.
And the latest research shows exactly how much. Scientists have long known that farm and factory workers exposed to certain chemicals at high levels experience declines in fertility. So scientists at the National Institutes of Health created the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment LIFE , the most comprehensive look yet at various environmental pollutants and their potential effect on pregnancy rates, to capture the effects of the compounds not just on female reproductive health but on both male and female fertility. The trial followed couples who stopped using contraception for a period of either 12 months or until they got pregnant, whichever came first. Researchers measured their blood for the presence of 63 organic pollutants such as PCBs found in oil-based paint, electrical parts and adhesives until they were banned in , and pesticides that fail to degrade in the environment but are absorbed by livestock and then by people consuming fatty fish, meats and dairy.