The reproductive process is markedly affected by the environment. Toxic substances in the physical ecosystem, along with biological, social, cultural, and economical aspects of exposed populations, are factors that interact with each other, making the study of the effects of environmental variables on reproduction quite complex. Despite the difficulties in approaching the problem, the amount of available evidence supporting the concept that environmental contamination represents a risk factor to fertility steadily increases. In some circumstances, it is possible to identify precisely the toxic agent responsible for fertility impairment, as in the case of heavy metals. In other cases, the adverse effects are the result of exposure to complex mixtures, such as wood stoves, automotive and industrial emissions, and several classes of endocrine disrupting substances. The mechanisms responsible for environmental-dependent impairment of fertility are not fully identified, but some basic pathways can be presented: direct toxicity, induction of mutations, oxidative stress and endocrine disruption. Although in some cases the risk excess is small, there are toxic agents - such as air pollutants and contaminants of public water affecting millions of people, increasing the risk attributed to these diffuse environmental threats.
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- Environment And Fertility
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