Toxic chemicals lurking in kitchen utensils, makeup and toiletries can render women infertile, another study suggested today.
Scientists have warned for years about the dangers of perfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.
They have been linked to everything from cancer to infertility to autism.
But the latest evidence from US and Singaporean researchers suggests that the impact of PFAS on the likelihood of having a baby could be even greater than previously suspected.
They found that women with various types of PFAS in their blood who were trying to conceive had up to 40 percent less chance of becoming pregnant and delivering a live baby.
Scientists have linked exposure to so-called forever chemicals found in items like nonstick cookware with a lower chance of having a baby.
This graph shows the impact of PFAS exposure on birth outcomes, lines below the horizontal trailing line value of 1.00 show a reduction in the probability of the outcome, the lower the line the worse the outcome. result. Green represents the average time it takes to conceive or ‘Time to Pregnancy (TTP)’, red is an ongoing pregnancy and blue is a live birth. The solid dot in the middle of each line represents the overall average number, while the tabbed ends show the lowest and highest scores recorded in the study.
The scientists said the results should serve as a warning to women who want to have a child to steer clear of the chemicals that are added to everything from cookware, clothing and makeup for their stain- and stain-resistant properties. water.
Publication of the results in the magazine. Total Environmental Science Lead author Dr. Nathan Cohen, an expert in environmental medicine and public health with the Mount Sinai health organization in New York, said it 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,” she said.
“We can minimize exposure to PFAS by avoiding foods that are associated with higher levels of these chemicals and by purchasing PFAS-free products.”
Another study author, Dr. Damaskini Valvi of Mount Sinai, an expert on the health dangers of PFASs, added that his study was one of the first to suggest that the chemicals could harm fertility even in healthy women.
What ARE ‘forever chemicals’?
‘Forever chemicals’ are a class of common industrial compounds that do not break down when released into the environment.
Humans are exposed to these chemicals after coming into contact with food, soil, or water bodies.
These chemicals, more correctly known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, are added to cookware, rugs, textiles, and other items to make them more water and stain repellent.
PFAS contamination has been detected in water near manufacturing facilities, as well as at military bases and fire training facilities where flame retardant foam is used.
The chemicals have been linked to increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, and damage to the immune system, as well as birth defects, lower birth weights, and reduced vaccine response in boys.
“PFAS can disrupt our reproductive hormones and has been linked to delayed onset of puberty and increased risk of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome in some previous studies,” he said.
‘What our study adds is that PFAS may also decrease fertility in generally healthy women who are trying to conceive naturally.
He added that it was also important that the authorities introduce policies that prohibit the use of PFAS in everyday products.
PFAS are a class of chemicals that are more correctly known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
they are It’s found in a swath of everyday items, from nonstick cookware, clothing, food packaging, rugs, paintings, toiletries, and vintage goods.
The chemicals, designed to make surfaces resistant to stains and water, do not break down naturally in the environment, hence their nickname of forever chemicals.
In their study, US and Singaporean researchers analyzed blood samples taken from 1,032 women.
All of them were looking for a baby and had an average age of 30, with samples from the island between 2015 and 2017.
The researchers tested the samples for 15 specific types of PFAS and then followed each woman for at least a year to see if she successfully conceived.
The researchers, from the Mount Sinai Health Organization in New York, found that higher PFAS exposure was linked to lower chances of having a baby.
This was true both for the individual types of PFAS and when their effects were combined.
‘Forever chemicals’ and the human health impacts of their exposure were the focus of the 2019 legal thriller ‘Dark Waters,’ starring Mark Ruffalo.
The scientists found that the potent PFAS blend was linked to up to 40 percent lower odds of getting pregnant within a year and also having a live birth.
The authors noted that their study had some limitations, the first being that they were unable to identify the specific mechanism by which PFAS was reduced in participants’ fertility, such as measuring reproductive hormones.
Another was that they only looked at exposure to established PFASs, with the researchers noting that some emerging chemicals are now being added to products worth exploring.
Lastly, the scientists said they were unable to account for male infertility and PFAS exposure in their study, as their analysis only looked at results for women.
PFASs, properly known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have previously been linked to an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
Studies have also suggested that they damage the immune system and increase the risk of birth defects.
There are around 5,000 different types of chemicals.
They appeared in the 2019 Hollywood film Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo, after a community’s water was poisoned by chemicals from a local manufacturing plant.
PFAS differ from another group of common chemicals called phthalates that are used to make plastics more durable and can be found on floors and in products like shampoos, soaps, and hairsprays.
Like PFASs, there are also health concerns about exposure to phthalates in daily life, as the substances have been linked to cancers, asthma, ADHD, and obesity.