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Rev Environ Health. 2019 Dec 18;34(4):327-338. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2019-0016.

Cadmium toxicity: effects on human reproduction and fertility.

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Retd, Former, Director-in-Charge, Scientist 'G', NIOH, A-10, Radhey Kunj Apartment, B/H Circuit House, Shahi Baugh, Ahmedabad, 380004, India.
ICMR - National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, 380016, India.


Background Cadmium (Cd) is a non-essential toxic heavy metal, an environmental toxicant, and toxic at a low concentration, and it has no known beneficial role in the human body. Its exposure induces various health impairments including hostile reproductive health. Objective The present review discusses the information on exposure to Cd and human reproductive health impairments including pregnancy or its outcome with respect to environmental and occupational exposure. Methods The present review provides current information on the reproductive toxic potential of Cd in humans. The data were collected using various websites and consulting books, reports, etc. We have included recent data which were published from 2000 onward in this review. Results Cd exposure affects human male reproductive organs/system and deteriorates spermatogenesis, semen quality especially sperm motility and hormonal synthesis/release. Based on experimental and human studies, it also impairs female reproduction and reproductive hormonal balance and affects menstrual cycles. Based on the literature, it might be concluded that exposure to Cd at low doses has adverse effects on both human male and female reproduction and affects pregnancy or its outcome. Further, maternal prenatal Cd exposure might have a differential effect on male and female offspring especially affecting more female offspring. Hence, efforts must be made to prevent exposure to Cd. Conclusion Cd affects both male and female reproduction, impairs hormone synthesis/regulation and deteriorates pregnancy rate or its outcome even at lower doses.


cadmium; hormonal imbalance; pregnancy outcome; reproduction; semen quality


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