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12. - Environmental contaminants, female reproductive health and fertility

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2010

Tracey J. Woodruff
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco
Sarah J. Janssen
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco
Louis J. Guillette, Jr
Affiliation:
University of Florida
Linda C. Giudice
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco
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Summary

This chapter focuses on women and how a variety of chemical and pollutant exposures throughout the life course can influence women's reproductive health and fertility. Women's exposures are particularly important for transgenerational effects, since an adult woman's reproductive health as well as her response to environmental exposures are modified by her own in utero exposures or early childhood influences. In utero exposure to endocrine-active compounds has the potential to adversely affect women's eventual reproductive health either directly by affecting steroid hormone production (ovary) or interfering with control and/or action of ovarian hormones (HPG axis), or indirectly via immunologic or neurologic pathways. When an adult women's exposure to environmental contaminants leads to disruption of menstrual or ovarian function, generally the variations observed indicate an underlying perturbation of hormones rather than the development of clinical menstrual or ovarian disorders.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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