Urgent fertility alert for women over toxic chemicals spilled in everyday objects
Toxic chemicals lurking in cookware, makeup and toiletries could be rendering women infertile, another study suggested today.
Scientists have been warning of the dangers of perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, for years.
Such “forever chemicals” – so called because they can linger in the environment for thousands of years – have been linked to everything from cancer to infertility.
But the latest findings from American and Singaporean researchers suggest that the impact of PFAS on fertility may be even greater than previously thought.
They discovered that women with multiple types of PFAS in their blood who tried to conceive had up to a 40 percent reduced chance of conceiving and giving birth to a live baby.
Scientists have linked exposure to so-called forever chemicals found in items like nonstick cookware to a reduced chance of having a baby
This graph shows the effects of PFAS exposure on birth outcomes, lines below the back line horizontal value of 1.00 indicate a reduction in the likelihood of the outcome, the lower the line, the worse the outcome. Green represents mean time to conception or Time To Pregnancy (TTP), red represents pregnancy that occurs at all, and blue represents live birth. The solid dot in the middle of each line represents the overall mean value, while the flanged ends show the lowest and highest results recorded in the study
Scientists said the results should serve as a warning to women trying to have children to stay away from the chemicals that are added to everything in cookware, clothing and makeup for their stain- and water-repellent properties.
The publication of the results in the journal Science of The Total Environment, lead author Dr. Nathan Cohen, an environmental medicine and public health expert at the Mount Sinai health organization in New York, said they should serve as a wake-up call.
“The results of our study should serve as a warning to women around the world about the potentially harmful effects of PFAS when planning to conceive,” he said.
“We can minimize PFAS exposure by avoiding foods associated with higher levels of these chemicals and by purchasing PFAS-free products.”
co-author Dr. Damaskini Valvi said her study is one of the first to suggest the chemicals could affect fertility even in healthy women.
What ARE “forever chemicals”?
“Forever Chemicals” are a class of common industrial compounds that do not degrade when released into the environment.
Humans are exposed to these chemicals after coming into contact with food, soil, or water reservoirs.
These chemicals — better known as per- and polyfluoroalkyls, or PFAS — are added to cookware, carpets, textiles and other items to make them more water and stain repellent.
PFAS contamination has been identified in water near manufacturing facilities and at military bases and firefighting training facilities where FR foam is used.
The chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer and damage to the immune system, as well as birth defects, lower birth weight and reduced vaccine response in children.
“PFAS can disrupt our reproductive hormones and has been associated in some previous studies with a delayed onset of puberty and an increased risk of endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome,” she said.
“What our study adds is that PFAS may also decrease fertility in women who are generally healthy and are trying to conceive naturally.”
She added that it is also important that authorities introduce policies banning the use of PFAS in everyday products.
PFAS are a class of chemicals better known as per- and polyfluoroalkyls.
They are found in a variety of everyday items, from non-stick cookware, clothing, food packaging, carpets, paint, toiletries, and period products.
The chemicals developed to make surfaces dirt and water repellent don’t naturally break down in the environment, hence their nickname ‘Forever Chemicals’.
In their study, American and Singaporean researchers analyzed blood samples from 1,032 women.
All were attempting to have a baby and averaged 30 years of age, with samples taken between 2015 and 2017.
The researchers analyzed the samples for 15 specific types of PFAS and then followed each woman for at least a year to see if she was successful in conceiving.
Researchers at the Mount Sinai health organization in New York found that higher PFAS exposure was associated with a lower chance of having a baby.
This applied both to individual PFAS types and to the combination of their effects.
“Chemicals Forever” and the impact of their exposure on human health was the focus of the 2019 legal thriller “Dark Waters,” starring Mark Ruffalo
Scientists found that the potent blend of PFAS was linked to up to a 40 percent lower chance of conceiving within a year and also having a live birth.
However, the authors noted that they could not prove that PFAS were behind the connection.
For example, the experiment wasn’t designed to finger the toxic chemicals.
And they could not identify the specific mechanism by which PFAS may decrease fertility in participants — for example, through a knock-on effect on hormones.
Experts also warned that they only looked at exposure to established PFAS, with the researchers noting that some new chemicals are now being added to products that are worth investigating.
Finally, the scientists said they could not account for male infertility and exposure to PFAS in their study because their analysis only looked at the women’s results.
PFAS, actually known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have previously been linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
Studies have also shown that they damage the immune system and increase the risk of birth defects.
There are around 5,000 different types of chemicals.
They starred in the 2019 Hollywood film Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo, after a community’s water was poisoned by chemicals from a local manufacturing facility.
PFAS differ from another group of common chemicals called phthalates, which are used to make plastics more durable and are found in floors and in products like shampoos, soaps and hairsprays.
As with PFAS, there are also health concerns about exposure to phthalates in everyday life, as the substances have been linked to cancers, asthma, ADHD and obesity.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11885199/Urgent-fertility-warning-women-toxic-chemicals-littered-everyday-items.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Urgent fertility alert for women over toxic chemicals spilled in everyday objects