It has been documented that lead can cause a wide range of adverse reproductive outcomes. In men, lead can reduce the libido and affect spermatogenesis reducing the quality of sperm. Other effects in exposed men include disturbance of prostatic function and damage in serum testosterone. In pregnant women, lead can cross the placenta and impair the development of the fetus. Therefore, exposed women are at risk of suffering spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, gestational diabetes mellitus, pregnancy hypertension, preeclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, intrauterine growth restriction, low weight birth, and other pregnancy complications. In both men and women, lead has been associated with infertility. Harmful effects of this heavy metal have been observed even at low levels of exposure. Thus, exposure to lead remains a public health problem, especially for reproductive health. Some strategies should be considered to prevent harmful effects of lead on both male and female reproductive systems.
Part of the book: Lead Chemistry