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Agrochemicals: Developmental Toxicity/Reproductive Toxicity

  1. Poorni Iyer1,
  2. James L. Schardein Independent Consultant2,
  3. Susan Makris3

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr212

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Iyer, P., Schardein, J. L. and Makris, S. 2003. Agrochemicals: Developmental Toxicity/Reproductive Toxicity. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    California Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Sacramento

  2. 2

    Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, Chelsea, Michigan

  3. 3

    US. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS), Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), Health Effects Division (HED), Crystal City, VA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


Agrochemicals have been in use since the early days of modern agriculture. They have been well studied and subject to regulation by various federal and state agencies. There is growing concern about the safety of agrochemicals and how exposure may affect reproductive outcome in humans and other species. This article describes toxicity studies that focus on the developmental and reproductive systems of laboratory animals. The endpoints evaluated include infertility, birth defects (structural defects and functional deficits) and adverse effects on male or female reproductive systems. The classes of agrochemicals discussed include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides as well as fumigants and other miscellaneous chemicals used in agriculture. Data typically submitted to regulatory agencies for the purposes of registration are not readily accessible in the open literature and an attempt has been made to present the findings from such studies. Regulatory issues such as testing requirements and approaches to risk assessment of compounds resulting in adverse reproductive outcome are also outlined. Available epidemiological data on the developmental toxicity of occupational and environmental agrochemical exposure are limited in the sense that while a number of studies have some indications of elevated risk for specific compounds, the epidemiological evidence on the whole is unclear.


  • reproductive toxicity;
  • pesticide exposure;
  • agrochemicals;
  • developmental toxicity;
  • birth defects;
  • epidemiological data;
  • reproductive system