Identification and Prioritization of Environmental Reproductive Hazards: A First Step in Establishing Environmental Perinatal Care

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jan 28;16(3):366. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16030366.


In 2015, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics established the prevention of exposures to environmental reprotoxic substances as a priority for health professionals. However, available information about reproductive hazards is voluminous, dispersed, and complex, and this is a severe limitation for physicians to incorporate the prevention of environmental exposure into standard preventive care. One difficulty frequently cited by physicians is the lack of evidence-based information. The objective of our study was to identify a list of environmental chemical hazards to reproduction. We used lists present in relevant regulations or included in scientific reports or databases to identify reproductive hazards. The reproductive hazards were prioritized according to the strength of evidence concerning their impact on fertility or development of the offspring. We identified 1251 reproductive hazards. Our prioritization approach resulted in a high-priority classification for 462 risk factors belonging to the following eight classes: drugs (n = 206), metals (n = 116), pesticides (n = 38), organic solvents (n = 27), synthesizing and/or processing agents in industrial processes (n = 23), phthalates (n = 13), perfluorinated compounds (n = 13), and other compounds (n = 26). Despite the limitations of this work, the generated lists constitute a useful working basis to put in place innovative environmental preventive measures according to the principle of evidence-based medicine.

Keywords: chemical hazards; environmental exposure; occupational exposure; perinatal care; preventative medicine; reproductive health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Mutagens / adverse effects*
  • Perinatal Care / standards*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Risk Factors


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Mutagens