Lab Culture

A Call for Increased Focus on Reproductive Health within Lab Safety Culture

The approach to reproductive health and safety in academic laboratories requires increased focus and a shift in paradigm. Our analysis of the current guidance from more than 100 academic institutions’ Chemical Hygiene Plans (CHPs) indicates that the burden to implement laboratory reproductive health and safety practices is often placed on those already pregnant or planning conception. We also found inconsistencies in the classification of potential reproductive toxins by resources generally considered to be authoritative, adding further confusion. In the interest of human health and safe laboratory practice, we suggest straightforward changes that institutions and individual laboratories can make to address these present deficiencies: Provide consistent and clear information to laboratory researchers about reproductive health and normalize the discussion of reproductive health among all researchers. Doing so will promote safer and more inclusive laboratory environments.