Chemicals pose fertility risk
COMMON chemicals in foods, cosmetics, cleaning products and plastic containers are potentially reducing fertility, research has found.
The government-funded Your Fertility program and the Fertility Society of Australia have released a list of ways people can reduce exposure to everyday chemicals.
Mark Green, a University of Melbourne senior lecturer in reproductive biology, has reviewed how common chemicals known as “endocrine disrupting chemicals” can affect fertility in women and men.
“You can get these chemical exposures from multiple sources, in anything from food stuffs to the way you are heating those in a microwave (in or covered by soft plastic) or ovens,” says Dr Green.
Three main chemical categories to be avoided are parabens, which are common preservatives in personal care items; phthalates, which make plastic flexible; and BPAs, another plastic ingredient used in the linings of food cans.
“Household sprays and chemicals for cleaning the bathroom, shampoo and conditioner all have parabens, and . . . much of the absorption of chemicals can come not from eating or drinking, but also from exposure through the skin,” Dr Green said.
Herbicides and pesticides also potentially lifted levels of endocrine disrupters, he said.
Dr Green’s work will be presented to the Fertility Society of Australia conference, starting tomorrow in Adelaide. He has prepared a list of ways to reduce exposure, including: EATING fewer processed, canned and pre-packaged foods; AVOIDING handling printed sales receipts, and; DRINKING out of glass or hard plastic bottles rather than soft plastic bottles and never re-using soft plastic bottles.
Counsellor Emily Hunter and her husband, Michael Sier, are planning to start a family and, having read Dr Green’s guideline, have made changes to their lifestyle.
“It was a wake-up call,” Ms Hunter said.
“I didn’t realise how many of those things I was actually using. You can easily make some changes that aren’t too difficult.”