What are the possible complications of lead toxicity on reproduction?

Updated: Jan 16, 2020
  • Author: Pranay Kathuria, MD, FACP, FASN, FNKF; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Lead is a known reproductive toxin. In males, it causes reductions in sperm count and fertility. In females, it increases the risk of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and preterm births. Offspring may experience lead poisoning in utero and may have developmental delay. Research has demonstrated that these reproductive effects occur at relatively low levels of exposure, even those previously considered safe. Skeletal lead may be mobilized during pregnancy and lactation and can be transported to the fetus or the neonate.


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