A lot of environmental pollutants act as endocrine disruptors (EDs). They are outside agents which interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, activation or elimination of natural hormones in the body, responsible for reproduction, and are common causes of infertility.
These substances qualify as EDs: pesticides, heavy metals, plasticizers, organic solvents, drugs, gamma and X-rays.
Exposure to EDs during pregnancy can lead to disrupted development of the baby, in particular the baby’s reproductive system. Exposure to EDs in-utero has been associated with testicular cancer in men and vaginal cancer in women later in life.
Phthalates are chemicals used as lubricants, solvents, stabilizers and plasticizers. They give plastic it’s flexibility. They are predominantly found in children’s toys, blood storage bags, cosmetics, perfumes, food packaging and medications. Phthalates can be inhaled in polluted air, absorbed through the skin, ingested with food and water. Phthalate knows as DEHP is one of the most abundantly used phthalates. It has been shown to create a havoc with your hormones. It decreases lutenizing hormone (LH), increases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), delays ovulation and impairs steroid hormone production (testosterone, estrogen and progesterone).
Another ED to worry about is Bisphenol A. It’s found in the interior coating of tins (tuna tins, baked beans and other tinned fruit and vegetables, tin tomatoes etc…), milk containers (tetra-pac), baby formula bottles, re-usable water bottles and dental materials. Bisphenol A leaches into the food and water during heating (bottle sterilization) and after prolonged storage – which most of the tinned products and bottle water are. Bisphenol binds to your estrogen receptors and exerts stronger effect on the body than your natural estrogen.
A study found that out of 2,517 people 93% tested positive for bisphenol A in the urine. Women had significantly higher levels than men, followed by children who had the highest levels.
Another study found that women who underwent IVF and tested positive for bisphenol A, had much lower IVF success rates than women who tested negative.
Women with quantifiable levels of bisphenol A are also more likely to suffer from recurrent miscarriages and have an abnormal immune reaction to the developing embryo.
Are another nasty ED people get in touch with through consumption of contaminated animal products (eggs, meat, fish and dairy), water and breast milk. They are found in pesticides, and can be transported through the air to the nearest lake, sea, creek, ocean etc… If you eat non organically grown fruit and vegetables, eggs, dairy and milk, than your primary source of corganochloride compounds will be your diet. Studies have found that animal products contain more pesticides than non-organically grown fruit and vegetables. Organochloride compounds are common causes of infertility, and in particular DDT and DDE have been associated with:
• Male and female infertility
• Birth defects
• Poor sperm quality
• Decreased ovulation
• Impaired implantation
• Hormonal imbalances
Is used for surface coating, printing inks, cleaning solutions, cosmetics, water-based paint and agrochemicals. Glycol Ether can negatively impact sperm motility (sperm’s ability to swim).
Impact female fertility more than male fertility. At high risk of exposure to organic solvents are people who work with clothing, textile, paint, plastic, health care workers and laboratory workers. Organic solvents are common causes of infertility, as they increase time to pregnancy, risk of miscarriage and pose a risk of major malformations in the baby.
Particularly toxic for men are lead, mercury, cadmium, cobalt, chromium and boron as they can lead to testicular damage, impaired sperm production, and hormonal imbalances. At high risk of exposure to heavy metals and common causes of infertility are people who work with metals, welders, ore smelters, ammunition manufacturers, artists, painters and industry workers.
In women exposure to lead can lead to spontaneous abortions, miscarriages, severe birth deformities and reduced fertility.
1. Stop buying food in tins and plastic containers.
2. Don’t store your food in plastic containers.
3. Don’t use aluminum and plastic foils.
4. Don’t drink unfiltered tap water. I personally use and recommend the Aquasana drinking water system .
5. Don’t shower in unfiltered tap water, use this shower filter.
6. Drink water out of glass bottles, not plastic bottles.
7. Never ever put hot contents into a plastic water bottle.
8. Buy organic food including meat, dairy, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
9. Stop using commercial cleaning products.
10. Stop using commercial body care products (use natural organic alternatives only).
11. Stop using commercial cosmetics, perfume and nail polish.
12. Increase your intake of garlic, zinc, selenium, magnesium, broccoli and vitamin C.
13. Do a detox and if necessary have a chelation therapy.
14. If you work in one of the above mentioned industries (plastics, metal, lab, dentistry, paint etc…) get yourself tested for heavy metals, bisphenol A, organic solvents and organochloride compounds. If the tests are positive speak to your employer and ask to be given a different role where you won’t be coming into contact with common causes of infertility like EDs during chelation therapy and preconception time (pregnancy and breast feeding for women). Your employer needs to protect the workers against common causes of infertility and it’s their OHS (occupational health and safety) duty to comply. Raise the issue with your HR and OHS department if your boss won’t help you. If your company won’t help you go higher up in the chain and raise the issue with worker’s unions and the press. It’s likely that you are not the only one affected by this problem and you will find support.
15. Tell others; share this information on common causes of infertility with your family, friends and colleagues at work.
This article introduced 15 of the ways you can remove common causes of infertility from your environment and give yourself a fertility boost.
Iva Keene is co-founder, creator and award-winning author of the NFP Program and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Health Science in Naturopathy and a Master Degree in Reproductive Medicine. She has been a qualified and internationally accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 15 years. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva’s articles, videos, guides, and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols, and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments, and integrative reproductive health.