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Reproductive health in the American workplace.

Barrett V; Phillips JA
AAOHN J 1995 Jan; 43(1):40-51
Reproductive health in American workplaces was discussed. Reproductive health from an epidemiologic standpoint was considered. It has been estimated that up to 20 million workers in the United States are exposed to reproductive or developmental hazards each year. Concern over reproductive health has become a matter of increasing interest due to the increasing number of women entering workplaces. Because of more strenuous physical tasks and exposure to new technologies and chemicals, the risk of exposure to reproductive hazards for females will continue to increase. Legal and ethical issues associated with protecting females against reproductive hazards were considered. Occupational risks to reproductive and developmental health were discussed. Most available data only suggest that certain occupations and occupational exposures are associated with adverse effects on reproduction or fetal development. Few conclusive data exist. Reproductive hazards can be classified as physical, chemical, biological, and stress. Physical hazards include excessive heat, ionizing and nonionizing radiation, vibrations, and heavy physical labor such as that required in materials handling. Ionizing radiation is the only physical agent that is a known reproductive hazard. Much controversy has centered on whether nonionizing radiation from video display terminals (VDTs) presents a reproductive risk. Recent studies have indicated no increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome for females working with VDTs. NIOSH has identified 12 chemicals or classes of chemicals as reproductive hazards. Biological reproductive hazards include rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, hepatitis-B, toxoplasmosis, and varicella. Health care workers and nonhealth care workers such as those whose jobs involve contact with animals or animal products, refuse collection, and earth moving are also at risk to biological agents. The implications for occupational health nurses working in workplaces containing potential reproductive hazards were discussed.
NIOSH-Grant; Training; Sexual-reproduction; Risk-analysis; Reproductive-hazards; Occupational-health-nursing; Ionizing-radiation; Organic-compounds; Epidemiology; Biohazards; Occupational-hazards
Environmental Health Sciences Univ of Alabama, at Birmingham Schl of Pub Hlth, Univ Station Birmingham, AL 35294
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AAOHN Journal - American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Journal
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University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama
Page last reviewed: December 28, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division