Consumption of essential metals is needed for function of certain protein to maintain normal cell integrity. Incorporation and excretion of these metals are governed by the cells, but changes in environmental levels of metals can cause stress. There are areas in which the ambient environment contains non-essential metals that function as toxicants, which alter metal homeostasis thus causing oxidative stress and epigenetic alterations. Ambient air and water, as well as food items in poorly protected areas contain toxic metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, and chromium. Often the exposure to these common metal pollutants is associated with inflammatory diseases and carcinogenesis. However, epidemiology studies and animal experiments demonstrate these metals affect fertility spermatogenesis, sperm concentration, sperm motility, oocyte integrity via epigenetic changes, and contribute to gestational complications. In this review, we present a comprehensive summary of studies demonstrating the detrimental effects of exposure to these metals commonly found in ambient environment on the reproductive health of both males and females.
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