Exposure to environmental pollutants can lead to diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect the function of male and female reproductive systems. These problems can occur at any stage in life and include birth defects of the reproductive system, pregnancy complications, early puberty, developmental disorders, low birth weight, preterm birth, reduced fertility, impotence, and menstrual disorders.
The effects of some environmental exposures on reproductive health problems are well studied. For example, lead exposure is associated with reduced fertility in men and women. In addition, evidence suggests that exposure to endocrine disruptors might contribute to problems with fertility, pregnancy, and other aspects of reproduction.
What Is NIEHS Doing?
NIEHS supports research that is developing a fuller understanding of the relationship between exposures and risk of reproductive health problems. For example, grantees are studying the effects of arsenic exposure on birth outcomes; ties between dioxin exposure and endometriosis; and the role endocrine disruptors might play in sperm chromosomal abnormalities.
Kimberly McAllister, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
P.O. Box 12233Mail Drop K3-12Durham, N.C. 27709