Reproductive health refers to the diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems during all stages of life. Disorders of reproduction include birth defects, developmental disorders, low birth weight, preterm birth, reduced fertility, impotence, and menstrual disorders. Research has shown that exposure to environmental pollutants may pose the greatest threat to reproductive health. Exposure to lead is associated with reduced fertility in both men and women, while mercury exposure has been linked to birth defects and neurological disorders. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to endocrine disruptors, chemicals that appear to disrupt hormonal activity in humans and animals, may contribute to problems with fertility, pregnancy, and other aspects of reproduction.
Health Studies & Clinical Trials
- DES Study
- Early Pregnancy Study
- Fibroid Growth Study
- Norway Facial Clefts Study
- Postpartum Uterine Regression Study
What NIEHS is Doing on Reproductive Health
- Study links tanning gene to increase risk of testicular cancer (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2013/10/science-testicular/index.htm)
- New insight into how neonatal exposure to DES affects uterus function in mice (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/clinical/rm/index.cfm)
- Study finds wide range in pregnancy length (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2013/9/science-pregnancy/index.htm)
- NIEHS researcher assists in study of Norwegian women (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2013/2/science-norwegian/index.htm)
- NTP panel reviews outcomes of women treated for cancer while pregnant (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/11/science-ntp/index.htm)
- 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC)
- Addressing New Challenges in Children’s Environmental Health (259KB)
- Bisphenol A (BPA) (510KB)
- Bisphenol A (BPA): Expanding Research to Impact Human Health
- Bromodichloromethane and Pregnancy Loss
- Child Development and Environmental Toxins (585KB)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Epigenetic studies can shed light on causes underlying complex disease (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/10/science-epigenetics/index.htm)
- Genetic Stress and Toxicant-Induced Pregnancy Disruption
- Hormones and Cancer Highlights NIEHS/NTP Paper (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/4/science-hormonesandcancer/index.htm)
- Possible Mechanism Between Maternal Smoking and Childhood Illness Found (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/9/science-mechanism/index.htm)
- Reproductive Toxicity (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/sbrp/research/research5_s6.cfm)
- Researchers Call for Changes in Policy and Reproductive Healthcare (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/4/spotlight-reproductivehealth/index.htm)
- Researchers Explore Transgenerational Effects of Ancestral Exposures (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/6/science-transgenerational/index.htm)
- Rice consumption and arsenic exposure in pregnant women
- Role of Environmental Chemicals in Diabetes and Obesity: A National Toxicology Program Workshop Report (http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104597)
- Study finds that dad’s job can influence birth defects (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/10/science-dadsjob/index.htm)
- The Importance of Calcium Entry in Mammalian Reproduction (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/4/science-calcium/index.htm)
- Uterine Fibroid Study (UFS)
- Birth Defects: March of Dimes - Good starting point for background information on types of birth defects, learning about the roles genes play in birth defects, how to obtain genetic testing and counseling and other useful guidance.
- Birth Defects: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities - Research focuses on identifying the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities and how to help children fulfill their potential. The site also offers kids pages and a Spanish language version.
- Birth Defects: Research for Children - Comprehensive source of fact sheets and information resources. A free, monthly online newsletter, Birth Defects News, that highlights the latest advances in research.
- Cervical Cancer
- Children's Environmental Health Network - A national, multi-disciplinary organization whose mission is to protect the fetus and child from environmental health hazards and promote a healthy environment. The CEHN Resource Guide includes a directory of organizations active in children's environmental health issues and a compendium of statistical data sources.
- DES Action - A consumer organization dedicated to informing the public about DES and helping DES-exposed individuals. Besides a quarterly newsletter, DES Action Voice, the group provides a physician and attorney referral list.
- DES Cancer Network - A network for women with clear cell cancer. Provides a forum for information exchange, education, and mutual support. Includes a good list of helpful resources.
- DES Update - Published by the CDC, this Web site has sections geared towards consumers (DES self-assessment, understanding its impact on health) and healthcare providers (pharmacology, managing DES patients, etc).
- Environmental Diseases: Environmental Diseases From A to Z (English) (4MB)
- Environmental Factors and Breast Cancer Risk (1016KB)
- Linking Early Environmental Exposures to Adult Diseases (312KB)
- Prostate Cancer
- Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Birth Defect
- Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Family History
- Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Inherited
- Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Risk
- Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Sex Chromosome
- Uterine Fibroids
- EHP Student Edition Lesson: Are EDCs Blurring Issues of Gender? (324KB)
- EHP Student Edition Lesson: Beauty or the Beast? (154KB)
- EHP Student Edition Lesson: Lead and Mercury: Comparing Two Environmental Evils (311KB)
- EHP Student Edition Lesson: Soy: Filling in the Gaps (146KB)