Exposure to Chemical Substances as a Potential Determinant Factor of Human Fertility

  • Jun Yoshinaga
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Population Studies book series (BRIEFSPOPULAT)


Exposure to chemical substances has been considered a factor that affects the biological aspect of human fertility. It is widely recognized that some chemical substances have adverse effects on reproductive processes and fertility in animal models and in workers subjected to occupational exposure. Epidemiologic studies that investigate the relationship between exposure to chemical substances and time to pregnancy in occupational and environmental settings are reviewed. Occupational exposure to lead, pesticides, and solvents are suspected to decrease fecundability. Several studies report a significant association between decreased fecundability and environmental exposure to organochlorine compounds and other persistent and nonpersistent compounds; however, the results are not consistent across all studies. Exposure to chemical substances at environmental levels may not have a conspicuous effect on fecundability. However, environmental exposure is ubiquitous, and the general public is exposed on a daily basis. Even if the relative risk of environmental exposure is small, the attributable risk could be substantial because a large population is at risk. Further epidemiologic studies are warranted to elucidate the effects of environmental exposure.


Time to pregnancy Fecundability Chemical substance Environmental exposure Occupational exposure 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Yoshinaga
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesToyo UniversityGunmaJapan

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