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Ask Dr Safety about Reproductive Toxins

Ask Dr Safety about Reproductive Toxins



Brief outline of the issues associated with reproductive toxins in the lab

Brief outline of the issues associated with reproductive toxins in the lab



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    Ask Dr Safety about Reproductive Toxins Ask Dr Safety about Reproductive Toxins Presentation Transcript

    • Alan Hall, M.D. Neal Langerman, Ph.D.
      • A regular CHAS programming event which provides a forum for discussion of current topics in chemical safety.
      • A subject is assigned to each session
        • ANY topic of chemical safety interest is fair game for the session
        • Sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes
      • Fetal protection programs represent a variety of approaches to preventing harm to a developing fetus as the result of workplace impacts.
        • While women must clearly be protected, men must also be afforded equal protection.
        • A rich set of case law defines the legal construct under which an employer must function.
      • Reproductive toxicity is the occurrence of biologically adverse effects on the reproductive system of females or males that may result from exposure to environmental agents.
      • Developmental toxicity is the occurrence of adverse effects on the developing organism that may result from exposure prior to conception, during prenatal development or postnatally to the time of sexual maturation.
      • A teratogen is an agent or organism that produces a permanent structural or functional abnormality. Teratogens may be classified as infections, metabolic disorders, drugs, and chemicals.
      • A mutagen is an agent or organism that produces a permanent change in the genome of the individual. The change will pass down generational lines.
      • The Safe Drinking Water Act (Proposition 65) contains the most comprehensive list of reproductive toxins generally available.
        • See handout for the current P65 list
      • Results for a search of “Reproductive” on Elsevier’s new HazMat Navigator
    • Advanced Chemical Safety www.chemical-safety.com [email_address] Topic (from title page)
    • Advanced Chemical Safety www.chemical-safety.com [email_address] Topic (from title page)
      • Fetal Toxins
        • Fetotoxin : has the same impact on the fetus as on the adult.
          • Methyl ethyl ketone
        • Transplacental carcinogen : causes fetuses exposed during pregnancy to eventually develop cancer.
          • DES is a specific example of this class.
      • Fetal Toxins
        • Mutagen: alters the chromosomes of the ova or sperm.
          • Ethidium bromide
        • Teratogen: an agent which can cause a miscarriage or deform the developing fetus.
          • Polychloro-dibenzo-p-dioxins
      • This is only a subset of occupational/ environmental potential exposures and reproductive hazards
      • There is a revision of the ATSDR Case Study in Environmental Medicine in development
      • Male and Female reproduction and fetal/early childhood development are extremely complicated biological processes
      • Environmental exposures (including those which may occur in Laboratories) have the potential to interfere with many aspects of these processes
      • Those responsible for Safety in Laboratories must consider:
        • Female reproductive issues (including the eventual ability to conceive and carry a normal pregnancy)
        • Pregnant female reproductive issues (including the ability to carry and deliver a normal infant)
        • Male reproductive issues (including the ability to father a child and the potential for that child to be a normal infant)
        • Issues that may, from the aspects of both parents, to lead to maximizing normal early childhood development
      • Numerous chemical substances have been shown, in humans or experimental animals, to have an adverse effect on reproduction and development, such as:
        • Drugs/Medications (both licit and illicit)
        • Pesticides
        • Solvents
        • Metals
        • Petrochemicals
        • Ionizing radiation
        • Carbon monoxide/other asphyxiants
        • And other lifestyle issues such as tobacco smoking, shift work, domestic violence, alcohol, caffeine, folic acid deficiency, etc., etc.
      • Chemical exposures in Laboratories are only one aspect of the very complicated issues in human reproduction
      • Any measures that can be adopted to decrease potential exposures to reproductive hazards in male and female laboratory workers are to be encouraged
      • What is the magnitude of the problem, overall?
        • Approximately 12% of women in the US had difficulty conceiving a pregnancy in 2002
        • Male and female infertility are each responsible for approximately 30% of infertile couples; the remaining cases are due to complex or unknown causes
        • About 7% of couples are infertile
        • About 30-50% of pregnancies may result in very early and often undetected fetal loss
        • Only about 15-20% of failed conceptions are clinically recognized as miscarriages
      • What is the magnitude of the problem, overall?
        • Fetal losses (births plus fetal deaths) after 20 weeks gestation were 6.4 per 1000 in 2002; and infant deaths were 0.7% in 2003
        • Fetal growth restriction occurs in approximately 3% of births
        • Preterm deliveries were 12.5% in 2004
        • Genetic diseases are present in 11% of births
        • Low Birth Weight (LBW) incidence was 8.1% in 2004
      • What is the magnitude of the problem, overall?
        • There are several thousand known birth defects. Major malformations are estimated to occur in about 3% of live births
        • About 20-25% of birth defects are known to be caused by genetic factors
        • About 60-70% of birth defects are of unknown causes
        • About 10% of birth defects are due to environmental conditions or exposures: about 4% are due to maternal risk factors; about 3% are due to infectious agents; about 1-2% are due to mechanical pregnancy problems
        • < 1% are known to be due to chemicals, prescription drugs, or physical agents
      • Some Issues for discussion
        • Do you feel adequately informed about potential reproductive toxins in your work place?
        • Do you feel adequately protected?
        • Do you work directly with known reproductive toxins?
        • Has your employer discussed a Fetal Protection Program with its employees?