J.D Pritchard, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards
Publication date: May 2007
This review was conducted to support Health Protection Agency (HPA) strategic Goal 2 and 5 namely to protect against adverse effects of acute and chronic exposure to chemical poisons and other environmental hazards and to protect and improve the health of children.
The possible effects of environmental chemicals on human reproduction and the development of the unborn child is an emotive issue and it is important that the HPA retains a contemporaneous knowledge of scientific developments in this contentious area. It is important when considering this subject to appreciate that the aetiology of congenital abnormalities is a complex, multifactorial event: the majority of congenital abnormalities are not considered to arise from chemical or other environmental exposures. Even with an exposure to a chemical of concern, many other factors may influence the development of an abnormality; such as the timing of the exposure in the pregnancy, the genotype of the unborn child and mother or maternal health and dietary status. These and other factors are discussed.
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Last reviewed: 14 April 2010