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Environmental influences on reproductive health: the importance of chemical exposures.


Chemical exposures during pregnancy can have a profound and life-long impact on human health. Because of the omnipresence of chemicals in our daily life, there is continuous contact with chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. Consequently, human biomonitoring studies show that pregnant women around the globe are exposed to a variety of chemicals. In this review we provide a summary of current data on maternal and fetal exposure, as well as health consequences from these exposures. We review several chemical classes, including polychlorinated biphenyls, perfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, phenols, phthalates, pesticides, and metals. Additionally, we discuss environmental disparities and vulnerable populations, and future research directions. We conclude by providing some recommendations for prevention of chemical exposure and its adverse reproductive health consequences.

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