Standard Article

Reproductive Toxicology

Environmental Health

  1. Paige L. Williams

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.var037

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Williams, P. L. 2006. Reproductive Toxicology. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 5.

Author Information

  1. Harvard University, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Reproductive toxicology is the study of adverse effects of environmental agents on the male and female reproductive systems, including reduced fertility, menstrual disorders, spontaneous abortion, developmental defects including low birth weight, and genetic diseases affecting the reproductive system and offspring. In particular, there is concern regarding the high rate in humans of pregnancy, congenital malformations, and serious developmental defects possibly due to environmental factors. Also of specific interest is an apparent increase in male sexual effects such as reduced sperm production and testicular cancer. Public health concern regarding these reproductive issues has been heightened by an increase in the number of women in the workforce during their childbearing years, and by the large increase in numbers of couples seeking treatment for infertility. While the cause of many of these adverse reproductive outcomes is unknown, at least some proportion can be attributed to known environmental agents.