Every day, we use products that contain chemical compounds and encounter chemicals. These chemicals can have an adverse effect on our health, particularly fertility. Toxic exposures can cause direct cell damage in the developing sperm and eggs. Some chemical agents may also be harmful to the pregnancy, hazardous to the foetus and affect sexual function. These agents are referred to as reprotoxic substances.
While some of these chemicals are unavoidable, a considerable number of them can be avoided or at best you should be informed of the great dangers of using products that contain some of these toxins. Equally, you need to understand how to avoid being in contact with things and products that are likely to be harmful to your health and fertility.
As a role of thumb, most man-made products of any kind are likely to contain at least some chemical components that are hazardous. You may ask, how do these components affect fertility?
Certain chemicals may alter your reproductive system by interfering with the endocrine. These are called endocrine disrupters. Some adverse effects include the following: poor semen quality, poor ovaries, endometriosis, infections of reproductive organs and damaged reproductive tissues in men and women. Good examples of these chemicals are polychlorinated organic compounds, pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, brominated flame retardants and heavy metals have been identified as being possible endocrine disrupters.
The level of damage of these chemicals on fertility depends on the degree of exposure, duration of exposure and timing of exposure. Of course, the effects also depend on how your body reacts to these compounds. For instance, a lower dose of a toxicant may cause birth defects, whereas a high dose may lead to a miscarriage or infertility. Also, exposure during vulnerable periods of ovulation, the formation of mature sperm and formation of organs within the embryo could lead to damage. Some toxicants, like antineoplastic agents (cancer chemotherapy drugs), may reduce the number of female germ cells, leading to a shortened reproductive lifespan.
While most of the names used here might sound abstract, most of these chemicals can be found in the shampoo you use, detergent, plastic bags you keep your food in, your body lotion (particularly bleaching products) the container you use to take your lunch to work. The truth is, we’re all exposed to chemicals and metals through the air, water, soil, food, and consumer products we come in contact with every day. Scientists estimate that every person today carries at least 700 contaminants within his or her body.
The top five chemicals you should avoid include the following:
BPA can be found in the lining of tin cans, dental sealants, and thermal cash register receipts and is also commonly used to make plastics for food and drink containers. Exposure to excessive amounts of BPA could lead to reproductive complications, birth defects and heart diseases. Fortunately, BPA has been banned from being used to produce children’s bottles and cups. However, you can still be exposed to this chemical through any of the sources mentioned above.
Parabens are primarily used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Some researchers believe parabens affect estrogen production and mimic estrogen in the body. Thus disrupting the female reproductive system and could lead to hormonal imbalance.
Phthalates are found in many cleaning agents used in most homes including soap, shampoos, hairsprays and detergents. They are also added to plastics to make them more flexible and resilient like plastic bags, children’s toys, and food packaging containers. Some studies have linked lower sperm count and mobility- both play a key role in male fertility- to phthalates exposure.
These compounds are used in the manufacturing of pesticides. They’ve been shown to adversely affect fertility, brain development, and hormone signalling.
Cadmium, mercury, and lead are examples of dangerous heavy metals. These compounds are commonly present in cosmetic products used by women like nail polish, lipsticks, and body lotions particularly bleaching skin products. Also, as a result of industrial processing from automobiles, cigarette smoke, and heavy pesticide use. Most of us are exposed to these metals on a daily basis and they go in to accumulate in our organs and impair reproductive health over time.
How to Decrease Exposure and Minimize Possible Risks
Eat organic foods. Buy vegetables and fruits that are naturally grown free from fertilizers. Make sure to properly wash vegetables and fruits if you buy them from the market and are uncertain about how they were grown.
Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
Drink filtered water.
Avoid eating fish contaminated with mercury. Consider taking a high-quality fish oil supplement to ensure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Use only non-toxic cleaning supplies. You should check the ingredients list used to produce these products before buying them or you can make them yourself. This applies to personal care products and cosmetics. Specifically look for parabens and phthalates in these kinds of products.
Avoid plastics containing BPA. Better still, do not microwave food in plastic containers.
Avoid using pesticides when they are people around and allow ample time for the pesticides to properly diffuse before staying in the area.
Avoid consuming canned foods.
While you can’t escape toxins completely, if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you should be especially cautious about the toxins that might be entering your body. It’s critical that you undergo a fertility cleanse. A fertility cleanse is a cleanse especially designed to help remove toxins and other chemicals from your body, and make it easier for you to become pregnant. Fertility cleansing helps to cleanse both the uterus and the liver, which can help to prepare the body for conception. It can help the uterus to cleanse itself of old stagnant blood, and can also help to increase blood circulation to the uterus and tone the uterus in preparation for pregnancy.