There is substantial scientific and public concern about the potential effects of occupational and environmental toxicants on reproductive health. These effects include impaired functioning of the reproductive systems of men and women as well as a broad spectrum of developmental problems expressed in offspring. Research on reproduction and development is among the most complex undertakings in biomedical research. This complexity is due in part to the intricate biology of reproduction, the multiple targets involved (male, female, and offspring), the uncertainties in extrapolating from animal models to humans, and the problems involved in accurately characterizing exposures and outcomes in epidemiologic investigations. However, given the relatively brief history of research into toxicant-induced reproductive health effects, we have made enormous strides in our knowledge over the past decade. In particular, recent advances in reproductive biology and biotechnology and in the development of biological markers of exposure, effect, and susceptibility are greatly enhancing our ability to study cause-effect relationships. In this paper, the Research Needs Working (group proposes ways to apply existing knowledge to better protect reproductive health and suggests directions for future research. Fulfilling this challenging agenda will require responsible cooperation by labor, industry, government, individual citizens, and the scientific community. Further research and collaboration are essential to both prevent adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes and to formulate a sound scientific basis for policy making.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis