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Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Dec;43(4):821-9.

Environmental factors in infertility.

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  • 1University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1192, USA.


In conclusion, several studies indicate that there is an association between cigarette smoking and adverse reproductive outcomes in women as well as men. Some studies indicate that alcohol consumption impairs the reproductive capacity of women. Exposures to PCE in the dry cleaning industry, toluene in the printing business, ethylene oxide and mixed solvents have been associated with decreased fecundity. Abnormalities in sperm production have been found in men exposed to radiant heat or heavy metals. Environmental exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbons (e.g., DDT, PCB, pentachlorophenol, hexachlorocyclohexane) has been associated with an increase in rates of miscarriage and endometriosis. Clinicians should counsel patients who are trying to achieve a successful pregnancy to stop smoking and limit alcohol intake. Clinicians can additionally counsel patients who are in contact with potentially harmful occupational and environmental toxicants to limit their exposure. It is important to recognize, however, that many of the studies to date are limited by small sample size, poor exposure assessment, poor outcome measurements, recruitment bias, or recall bias. Additional studies will be necessary to clarify the magnitude of risk associated with these factors.

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