Occupational, environmental and lifestyle factors associated with spontaneous abortion

Reprod Sci. 2011 Oct;18(10):915-30. doi: 10.1177/1933719111413298.


Scientific evidence indicates extreme exposure sensitivity of embryos, fetuses, and infants to the persistent environmental/occupational chemicals directly and or indirectly as compared to the same magnitude of exposure in adults. Paternal/maternal exposure to some of these chemicals might have a effect on the gamete structure and function, which might have significant implication for the adverse effect on pregnancy and their outcome. The available data point that some of the organochlorine chemicals such as dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT); metals such as lead, mercury; industrial pollutants such as dioxin, organic solvents, radiations; and some of the lifestyle-associated factors such as tobacco smoking (active and passive) and excessive maternal intake of alcohol had adverse effect on pregnancy outcome. The existing data support the hypothesis that, in general, working women have a higher risk of undesirable reproductive outcomes, even though the data are scanty. Studies are needed to find out the effects of those reproductive toxicants on priority basis which have been proved to be toxic in animal studies as well as data on human related to these chemicals are scanty. There is a need to educate the childbearing women to avoid exposure to the known or suspected risk factors and their employers to take measures to reduce the toxicant levels in workplace.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pregnancy