Lead is toxic to both male and female reproductive systems. Lead can alter the structure of sperm cells and there is evidence of miscarriage and stillbirth in women exposed to lead or whose partners have been exposed. Children born to parents who were exposed to excess lead levels are more likely to have birth defects, mental retardation, or behavioral disorders or to die during the first year of childhood.
Workers who desire medical advice about reproductive issues related to lead should contact qualified medical personnel to arrange for a job evaluation and medical followup–particularly if they are pregnant or actively seeking to have a child. Employers whose employees may be exposed to lead and who have been contacted by employees with concerns about reproductive issues must make medical examinations and consultations available.