Reproductive effects of environmental agents
A comprehensive assessments of the effects of environmental agents (chemicals) on reproduction requires characterization of the context of exposure. Such contextual factors include general physical conditions (temperature, photoperiod, humidity, and so on), behavioral factors (societal group, learned behaviors, etc.), and individual physiologic factors (age, sex, reproductive history, exposure history, immunologic memory, and basic genetic endowment). Many of these areas are addressed in other portions of this issue and must be acknowledged in order to derive conceptually the role that exposure to potential reproductive toxicants might play in the interaction of human reproduction with the environment. We will address exposures to chemical agents that may have adverse reproductive effects but will not attempt to assess aspects of such exposures, which would include mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, immunologic toxicology, or teratology per se. Reproductive toxicities are often difficult to assess and include infertility/sterility, changes in reproductive life span, or changes in sexual behavior. Therefore our practical problem is to devise a means for assessing these reproductive end points and determining the effects oftens of thousands of naturally occurring and manmade chemicals on these variables.
Field, B; Selub, M; Hughes, CL
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