Over the past few decades, the reproductive health of Americans appears to have declined. Diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the development and functioning of the male and female reproductive systems—including fertility problems, miscarriages, pre-term births, low birthweights and certain birth defects—have risen. In addition, incidence rates of testicular cancer have increased, and breast and prostate cancers remain among the most common forms of cancer in the U.S. The exact role of environmental chemical exposures in reproductive health remains unclear, and a variety of factors likely contribute to these increases. A growing body of scientific evidence, however, has linked exposure to some toxic chemicals to a range of reproductive and childhood developmental problems.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Environmental Health Project (Kid-Safe Chemicals) on PewHealth.org.