Is Environmental Exposure Associated with Reproductive Health Impairments?

  • Sunil Kumar

Received Date: 27.04.2007 Accepted Date: 01.10.2007 J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc 2008;9(1):60-69

All living beings and even non-living things are exposed to various exogenous as well as environmentally persistent chemicals through different routes. Thousands of tons of synthetic chemicals are produced worldwide annually. Upon being released into the environment, they persist for decades. Many of them identified as endocrine-disruptor chemicals (EDCs) have hormone-mimicking properties and might affects on the fertility of different species. Evidence has steadily accumulated in recent decades of the detrimental effects of the EDCs released to the environment on the reproductive health and related outcomes, such as, deterioration of semen quality, increase incidence of cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and testicular and prostate cancer in the male and a rising trend of breast cancers, and endometriosis (a disease where uterine endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus), menstrual disorders, etc in the female, and increasing genital defects in both sexes. There are reports mostly from animal studies including those in the wild life that exposure to EDCs while in the uterus may harm the fetus and lead to anomalous development of reproductive organs resulting in subfertility. There is need to program well controlled studies to correlate the chosen effect parameters with the exposure level in order to obtain specific information on the chemicals responsible for these adverse effects and plan the measures to be taken to reduce exposure.

Keywords: Environmental chemicals, Semen quality, Cryptorchidism, Endocrine disruptors, Endometriosis