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Your Environment. Your Health.

Reproductive Health

Introduction

expecting mother looking at sonogram

Reproductive Health

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.

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What is NIEHS Doing?

  • 14th Report on Carcinogens - A congressionally mandated, science-based, public health document that NTP prepares for the HHS Secretary. This cumulative report currently includes 248 listings of agents, substances, mixtures, and exposure circumstances that are known or reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans.
  • Early Pregnancy Study - The original purpose of the Early Pregnancy Study-carried out in 1982-86- was to determine the extent of pregnancy loss that occurs before women know they are pregnant.
  • Norway Facial Clefts Study - The Norway Facial Clefts Study is a population-based, case-control parent-triad study that explores the environmental and genetic causes of cleft lip and palate.
  • Preventing Prenatal Exposures Podcast - This podcast identifies some common environmental contaminants of concern and discusses how doctors and pregnant women can work together to reduce prenatal exposures.
  • Role of Environmental Chemicals in Diabetes and Obesity: A National Toxicology Program Workshop Report - Overall, the review of the existing literature identified linkages between several of the environmental exposures and type 2 diabetes

Further Reading

Stories from the Environmental Factor (NIEHS Newsletter)

Printable Fact Sheets

Additional Resources

  • 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 Defect: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - Designed to help learners at any level better understand genetic terms.
  • Cervical Cancer - For over 100 years, NIH has supported biomedical research to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Read the stories of research discovery, current treatment status, and future expectations for the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the nation's health.
  • 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).
  • EPA Fish and Shellfish Program Newsletter, August 2017
  • Family History: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - Designed to help learners at any level better understand genetic terms.
  • Healthy People - Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For 3 decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time
  • Inherited: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - Designed to help learners at any level better understand genetic terms.
  • Pregnancy Problems - In recent decades, scientists have developed a wide range of approaches to help struggling couples have healthy babies. And NIH-funded studies are continuing to search for even better ways to overcome the challenges of infertility.
  • Prostate Cancer - For For over 100 years, NIH has supported biomedical research to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Read the stories of research discovery, current treatment status, and future expectations for the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the nation's health.
  • Risk: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - Designed to help learners at any level better understand genetic terms.
  • Sex Chromosome: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - Designed to help learners at any level better understand genetic terms.
  • Uterine Fibroids - For over 100 years, NIH has supported biomedical research to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Read the stories of research discovery, current treatment status, and future expectations for the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the nation's health.
Content courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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