ABSTRACT: Reducing exposure to toxic environmental agents is a critical area of intervention for obstetricians, gynecologists, and other reproductive health care professionals. Patient exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and other stressors is ubiquitous, and preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental agents can have a profound and lasting effect on reproductive health across the life course. Prenatal exposure to certain chemicals has been documented to increase the risk of cancer in childhood; adult male exposure to pesticides is linked to altered semen quality, sterility, and prostate cancer; and postnatal exposure to some pesticides can interfere with all developmental stages of reproductive function in adult females, including puberty, menstruation and ovulation, fertility and fecundity, and menopause. Many environmental factors harmful to reproductive health disproportionately affect vulnerable and underserved populations, which leaves some populations, including underserved women, more vulnerable to adverse reproductive health effects than other populations. The evidence that links exposure to toxic environmental agents and adverse reproductive and developmental health outcomes is sufficiently robust, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine join leading scientists and other clinical practitioners in calling for timely action to identify and reduce exposure to toxic environmental agents while addressing the consequences of such exposure.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women
American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice Committee
The University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment
This Committee Opinion was developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice Committee with the assistance of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment endorses this document. This document reflects emerging clinical and scientific advances as of the date issued and is subject to change. This information should not be construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure to be followed.