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Disorders of reproduction include birth defects, developmental disorders, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, pre-term birth, and various other disorders affecting offspring; they also include reduced fertility, impotence, and menstrual disorders. Infertility is currently estimated to affect more than 2 million U.S. couples (one in 12 couples find themselves unable to conceive after 1 year of unprotected intercourse). Though not all infertile couples seek treatment, it is estimated that about $1 billion was spent in 1987 on health care related to infertility. In 1991, physician visits for infertility services numbered 1.7 million. Although numerous occupational exposures have been demonstrated to impair fertility (e.g., lead, some pesticides, and solvents), the overall contribution of occupational exposures to male and female infertility is unknown. Moreover, observed global trends in men's decreasing sperm counts have elevated concerns about the role of chemicals encountered at work and in the environment at large.

Families Embracing Eachother


NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Reproductive Health
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.

NORA Reproductive Health Research Team

The goal of the NORA Reproductive Health Research team (1996 - 2006) was to define and implement a national occupational reproductive research agenda for the next decade. The process to achieve this goal involved identifying critical research needs and mechanisms to promote, leverage, and facilitate research in the following priority topic areas:

Other Resources

Workplace Safety and Women
Running time: 7:41
This women's health podcast focuses on four important issues for women at work: job stress, work schedules, reproductive health, and workplace violence. (Created: 5/11/2009 by Office of Women’s Health (OWH) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)).

The National Toxicology Program's Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) - formerly the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)
This Office conducts evaluations to assess the evidence that environmental chemicals, physical substances, or mixtures (collectively referred to as "substances") cause adverse health effects and provides opinions on whether these substances may be of concern given what is known about current human exposure levels. Assessments of potential adverse effects of environmental substances on reproduction or development carried out by the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction from 1998-2010, will now be carried out by OHAT.

March of Dimes
Information on the prevention of birth defects

The Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto was created in 1985 to provide evidence-based information and guidance concerning potential risks to the developing fetus or infant, from exposure to drugs, chemicals, diseases, radiation and environmental agents.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
The center promotes the health of babies, children, and adults, and enhances the potential for full, productive living. Their work includes identifying the causes of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and helping children to develop and reach their full potential.

Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS)
Teratology is the study of the effects that drugs, medications, chemicals and other exposures may have on the fetus. Teratology Information Services (TIS) are comprehensive and multidisciplinary resources for medical consultation on prenatal exposures. TIS interpret information regarding known and potential reproductive risks into risk assessments that are communicated to individuals of reproductive age and health care providers.

Society for the Study of Reproduction
Promotes the study of human and animal reproduction as it relates to medicine, agriculture, and basic biology.

Teratology Society
The Teratology Society is a multidisciplinary scientific society founded in 1960, the members of which study the causes and biological processes leading to abnormal development and birth defects at the fundamental and clinical level, and appropriate measures for prevention.

The American Society of Andrology's Resource List (Men's Health)
Contains member links, andrology links, job postings, and more...

NIOSH Resources

The Flight Crew Research Program at NIOSH
In partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Cancer Institute, the HHS Office of Women’s Health and the Department of Defense Women’s Health Research Program, NIOSH has established a program of research in the U.S. flight crew occupational group. Studies are underway to characterize exposures in the aircraft cabin environment and to examine a variety of health effects in flight attendants and pilots.

Bicycle Saddles and Reproductive Health
NIOSH researchers have investigated the potential health effects of prolonged bicycling in police bicycle patrol units, including the possibility that some bicycle saddles exert excessive pressure on the urogenital area of cyclists, restricting blood flow to the genitals.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 2004-165 (2004)
The purpose of this Alert is to increase awareness among healthcare workers and their employers about the health risks posed by working with hazardous drugs and to provide them with measures for protecting their health.

Reproductive Health - Developing Partnerships in the Study of Reproductive Hazards in the Workplace
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 2002-152
One page sheet describing the types of research and the advantages of partnering with NIOSH.

The Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 99-104 (1999)
En Español
Describes reproductive hazards for female workers, the function of the female reproductive system, what hazards might be caused by workplace exposures and more...

Protecting Workers Exposed to Lead-Based Paint Hazards: A Report to Congress
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 98-112 (1997)
Current information is summarized in this report regarding the health effects of occupational lead exposures, high-risk exposure settings, surveillance and intervention capabilities, and methods for control, sampling and analysis of lead exposures. This report also provides recommendations for reducing hazardous occupational lead abatement exposures.

The Effects of Workplace Hazards on Male Reproductive Health
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 96-132 (1997)
En Español
Describes reproductive hazards for male workers, the function of the male reproductive system, what hazards might be caused by workplace exposures and more...

NIOSH ALERT - Controlling Exposures to Nitrous Oxide During Anesthetic Administration
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 94-100 (1994)
This Alert presents control measures for preventing or greatly reducing exposure to N2O during the administration of anesthetic gas. These control measures should be part of a comprehensive written safety and health plan for workers.

NIOSH Update: Body Clock Disruption, Linked With Travel Across Time Zones, Seen in Study of Flight Attendants (October 16, 2003)
Information about a NIOSH study that shows disruptions in circadian rhythm in female flight attendants.

The Glycol Ethers, with Particular Reference to 2-Methoxyethanol and 2-Ethoxyethanol: Evidence of Adverse Reproductive Effects
NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin No. 39 (1983)
NIOSH recommends that 2-methoxyethanol (2ME) and 2-ethoxyethanol (2EE) be regarded in the workplace as having the potential to cause adverse reproductive effects in male and female workers. These recommendations are based on the results of several recent studies that have demonstrated dose-related embryo toxicity and other reproductive effects in several species of animals exposed by different routes of administration.

Health Hazard Evaluations

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