Environmental Toxins and Fertility – What Men and Women Need to Know

[Leslie Carol Botha – Great article by Vicki Latham. Days of just ‘let’s get pregnant’ are over folks.  If men and women today, want to have a baby they need to prepare – look at their environmental surroundings, and their diet – and probably go on a detox program before they should even consider pregnancy. Otherwise, even if they are still fertile, their child could be born with a myriad of medical problems.  This is our new reality.]

Touchstone Essentials Blog
by Vicki Latham PA-C

Vicki Latham, PA-C speaks out on what men and women of childbearing age need to know about environmental toxins.

As a midwife and women’s health practitioner for over 30 years, my mission was to help mothers deliver healthy babies. I’m not delivering anymore, but today, bringing healthy babies into this world is still my purpose and my passion.

A lot has changed over the past 30 years. Years ago, parents would simply breathe a sigh of relief when they saw 10 fingers and 10 toes. No more.

Today’s parents are concerned with whether their child will be the one in every 88 diagnosed with autism; or if their daughter will be among the alarming number of children with premature puberty.  The age of menarche is now 10 years old; a century ago it was 16!

What has changed? In the span of just two generations, an onslaught of an estimated 80,000 chemicals has been released into our environment.

Testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sheds light on some of what ails us. A 2009 bio-monitoring report by the CDC found the average American has 212 different damaging toxins (tested from blood and urine). Where do those toxins go and what do they do?

Those not eliminated by your body’s defenses—your liver, kidneys, bowel and skin—get stored in the body, most often in the fatty tissues. These toxins can wreak havoc on your health, including your reproductive health.

Are environmental toxins having an effect on fertility?

The reality is that infertility is becoming increasingly widespread. A recent USA Today report highlights younger couples having difficulty as they try to conceive.

Plastics, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals are known endocrine (hormone) disrupters. Many of them mimic estrogen in the body, creating imbalance in a delicate system that requires precise hormones for a woman to ovulate and get pregnant.

These endocrine disrupters affect guys too. Bisphenol-A (BPA) can disrupt a man’s ability to produce healthy sperm. BPA is found in water bottles, store receipts, and the lining of many canned goods. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found those eating canned soup saw a 1,200% increase in BPA!  It is everywhere!

There can be no doubt the accumulated exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals are having an effect, as detailed in this recent European Environment Agency report.

And what are the risks when women do get pregnant?

While the medical community used to believe the placenta protected a baby, a landmark 2005 study showed over 200 toxins found in the cord blood that a baby depends on for nourishment.

These chemicals pose a risk to the developing baby, who does not yet have fully formed defense mechanisms such as a detoxifying liver or mature blood-brain barrier. According to the CDC, one in 10 women of childbearing age has mercury levels high enough to cause harm to the neurological development of baby. And a recent study showed exposure to pesticides during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weights and an increase in birth defects.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.