Reproductive Hazard List

Thousands of hazardous chemicals are produced and used in a wide variety of workplaces, all over the world. Some of these substances can have negative effects on the reproductive health of both male and female workers who are exposed to them. There are also a variety of physical and biological agents such as radiation and bacteria used in many workplaces that expose workers to additional reproductive hazards. Additionally, there are many work situations such as work which is highly stressful, or shift work that may cause negative effects on the reproductive systems of male and female workers.

Many workers are exposed to such hazards everyday at work. Working with particular substances or under certain work situations may cause some workers to experience abnormalities in their sexual or reproductive health. Many workers may not know that such problems can be related to occupational exposures. Exposure to certain hazardous substances or hazardous work conditions can affect reproductive health before or after conception takes place. Some occupational hazards, particularly certain chemicals and radiation, can seriously affect a developing embryo or foetus.

Adverse effects due to exposure can also become evident after birth, affecting the development of a baby or child. Some workplace exposures can prevent conception. Exposure to certain substances or combinations of substances can cause changes in the sex drive of either men or women, damage to the eggs or sperm, changes in the genetic material carried by the eggs and sperm, or cancer or other diseases in the reproductive organs of men or women.

The diagram below summarizes the possible effects of these hazards on the reproductive system

Reproductive Hazards fall into three groups: Physical Hazards, Chemical Hazards, and Biological Hazards. To read more about these types of hazards during pregnancy, click here.