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Reproductive Hazards

Summary

Both the male and female reproductive systems play a role in
pregnancy. Problems with these systems can affect
fertility and the ability to have children. Something that affects reproductive health is called a reproductive hazard. Examples include:

  • Radiation
  • Metals such as lead and mercury
  • Chemicals such as pesticides
  • Cigarettes
  • Some viruses
  • Alcohol

For men, a reproductive hazard can affect the sperm. For a woman, a reproductive hazard can cause different effects during pregnancy, depending on when she is exposed. During the first 3 months of pregnancy, it might cause a birth defect or a miscarriage. During the last 6 months of pregnancy, it could slow the growth of the fetus, affect the development of its brain, or cause premature labor.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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