Chem­i­cals pose fer­til­ity risk

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - WENDY TUOHY

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.”

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