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Chemicals and Reproductive Issues

by Jessica B. November 2nd, 2018 | Women's Health
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chemicalsWomen’s fertility declines greatly after the age of 35, but decreased fertility begins already at the age of 30 and now some scientists and doctors are afraid that exposure to chemicals may be speeding up the process. In an opinion piece published in the Fertility and Sterility Journal, by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, experts called for increased research in chemicals and environmental contaminants on pregnancy and fertility. The experts also want more consumer information about risks.

Every year there are thousands of chemicals introduced on the commercial market, and the FDA does not regulate exposure to all of them if they meet certain qualifications. This means that many chemicals, including BPA (a known endocrine disruptor) and pesticides, are constantly entering into our food supply. While there is a great deal of evidence that endocrine disruptors can cause reproductive damage, they are still only limited in products sold to small babies, not to adults.

The opinion piece is not meant to scare consumers, but instead to encourage legislators to increase restrictions and increase the pressure on the chemical industry to take more precautions to prevent and limit exposure. The damage done by these chemicals are still unknown.

One study showed that exposure to pesticide DDT may cause obesity up to three generations down the line. Other studies have linked toxins to miscarriage, infertility and other issues during pregnancy. If people are concerned, the biggest steps they can take is to avoid eating food in plastic containers and make sure to wash fruits and vegetables well. Also limit the amount of fish known for high mercury levels that you consume, especially if you are pregnant or planning to conceive.

But mostly the experts hope to engage and raise interest in the questions to increase research and to better regulate the toxins in our environment. Compared to Europe, there are very few restrictions placed on chemicals used in food preparation and packaging in the United States. With increased research on long term affects, we can begin now to figure out which chemicals we can use with few consequences and those which can be damaging.

While parents have been calling for years to see changes in the regulation system, better labeling, and clearer information about toxins in products, experts have not been as loud in sounding the alarm. Maybe if the two work together they can prove to be a driving force in Washington.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.