Heavy metal and metalloid - induced reproductive toxicity

Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2022 May:92:103859. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2022.103859. Epub 2022 Mar 28.


Heavy metals and metalloid exposure are among the most common factors responsible for reproductive toxicity in human beings. Several studies have indicated that numerous metals and metalloids can display severe adverse properties on the human reproductive system. Metals like lead, silver, cadmium, uranium, vanadium, and mercury and metalloids like arsenic have been known to induce reproductive toxicity. Moderate to minute quantities of lead may affect several reproductive parameters and even affect semen quality. The ecological and industrial exposures to the various heavy metals and metalloids have disastrous effects on the reproductive system ensuing in infertility. This work emphasizes the mechanism and pathophysiology of the aforementioned heavy metals and metalloids in reproductive toxicity. Additionally, this work aims to cover the classical protective mechanisms of zinc, melatonin, chelation therapy, and other trending methods to prevent heavy metal-induced reproductive toxicity.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Chelation; Heavy metals; Infertility; Melatonin; Reproductive toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic* / toxicity
  • Cadmium
  • Humans
  • Metalloids* / toxicity
  • Metals, Heavy* / toxicity
  • Semen Analysis


  • Metalloids
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic