Introduction: Environmental toxicants: hidden players on the reproductive stage
This issue critically reviews scientific evidence that environmental contaminants--natural gas, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and air pollution--are affecting reproductive health. Preventing reproductive compromise requires further research, education, and advocacy.
Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 791-794
Linda C. Giudice, M.D., Ph.D.
A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental contaminants, including natural gas, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and air pollution, are posing major threats to human reproductive health. Many chemicals are in commonly used personal care products, linings of food containers, pesticides, and toys, as well as in discarded electronic waste, textile treatments, and indoor and outdoor air and soil. They travel across borders through trade, food, wind, and water. Reproductive and other health effects can be incurred by exposures in utero, in the neonatal or adolescent periods, or in adulthood and can have transgenerational effects. Most chemicals do not undergo the level of evaluation for harm that pharmaceuticals, e.g., do, and they are rarely seen or seriously considered as a danger to human health. Herein, the burden of exposures, challenges in assessing data and populations at risk, models for evaluating harm, and mechanisms of effects are briefly reviewed, ending with a call to action for reproductive health care professionals to advocate for further research, education, and chemical policy reform for the health of this and future generations.