Saf Health Work.  2017 Jun;8(2):143-150. 10.1016/

Reproductive Toxic Chemicals at Work and Efforts to Protect Workers' Health: A Literature Review

  • 1Chemicals Research Bureau, Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Daejeon, 34122, Republic of Korea.


A huge number of chemicals are produced and used in the world, and some of them can have negative effects on the reproductive health of workers. To date, most chemicals and work environments have not been studied for their potential to have damaging effects on the workers' reproductive system. Because of the lack of information, many workers may not be aware that such problems can be related to occupational exposures. Newly industrialized countries such as Republic of Korea have rapidly amassed chemicals and other toxicants that pose health hazards, especially to the reproductive systems of workers. This literature review provides an overview of peer-reviewed literature regarding the teratogenic impact and need for safe handling of chemicals. Literature searches were performed using PubMed, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect. Search strategies were narrowed based on author expertise and 100 articles were chosen for detailed analysis. A total of 47 articles met prespecified inclusion criteria. The majority of papers contained studies that were descriptive in nature with respect to the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms and keywords: “reproductive and heath or hazard and/or workplace or workers or occupations.” In the absence of complete information about the safe occupational handling of chemicals in Republic of Korea (other than a material safety data sheet), this review serves as a valuable reference for identifying and remedying potential gaps in relevant regulations. The review also proposes other public health actions including hazard surveillance and primary prevention activities such as reduction, substitution, ventilation, as well as protective equipment.


chemicals; health hazard; occupational safety; reproductive health; teratogen
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