New Arrival: CERHR Monograph Series on Reproductive Toxicants
Medlin, Jennifer, Environmental Health Perspectives
The sheer number of environmental chemicals known or suspected to be reproductive toxicants--from the ingredients in paints and organic solvents to lead, pesticides, plastics, tobacco smoke, alcohol, and even hair treatments--can puzzle, frighten, and overwhelm the average parent. Their apprehensions reflect widespread concern among health professionals, scientists, and advocacy groups that exposure to some environmental agents may contribute to human reproductive and developmental disorders.
These are not idle concerns. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, nearly 10% of couples desiring children have difficulty achieving pregnancy, and studies suggest that 35-50% of pregnancies do not reach successful completion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that about 3% of babies are born with major birth defects.
Where can both the public and the experts go for trustworthy information on reproductive toxicants? One source is the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR). Established in 1998 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the NIEHS, the center serves as a clearinghouse for reputable, up-to-date scientific information on environmental agents that could affect human reproduction and development. According to center director Michael Shelby, good, reliable information is the first line of defense against harm: "The more complete and accurate the information you have, the better decisions you can make," he says.
The center is charged with compiling and evaluating data on chemicals to assess their potential reproductive health hazards, and with making these assessments available to the public. With that driving purpose, the center recently announced the publication of new monographs on each of six phthalate esters, chemicals selected in part because of their widespread occurrence in the environment and resultant substantial potential for human exposure.
Good Information Takes Time
Anyone--from members of the scientific community, academia, government, industry, environmental, and public interest groups to individual citizens themselves--may nominate a chemical …
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Publication information: Article title: New Arrival: CERHR Monograph Series on Reproductive Toxicants. Contributors: Medlin, Jennifer - Author. Journal title: Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume: 111. Issue: 13 Publication date: October 2003. Page number: A696+. © 2006 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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