Tuesday, 27 November 2018

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICALS MAY HARM FERTILITY

Chemicals such as phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and biphenyl A (BPA)—endocrine disruptors that can mimic the body’s natural hormones—could be contributing to fertility problems.

Although it’s likely that such chemicals are involved in infertility, it’s notoriously hard to tease out the root causes of such problems in humans, according to Russ Hauser, Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“There’s pretty solid evidence that exposure to lead can cause infertility, but there’s a whole lot of other exposures for which the evidence is mixed or inconclusive,” said Hauser in a June 23, 2014 podcast from the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) program, part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He said that most studies have measured people’s environmental exposures based on what they’ve been exposed to recently, but the more important exposures may be those that occurred years earlier, either in utero or during puberty.

More research is needed, Hauser said. In the meantime, because the use of these potentially harmful chemicals is widespread and they are often not listed on product labels, “the decision to reduce the population’s exposure needs to be made at the governmental level in terms of regulations,” he said. (This article was first published on Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

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