• 19 APR 14
    • 0
    Phthalates, BPA, and Male Fertility

    Phthalates, BPA, and Male Fertility

    When it comes to how hormone levels can change fertility health, woman’s hormones are often the focus of the conversation. Toxic chemicals, such as BPA, that are found in everyday items have shown to cause changes to hormone levels that can make it difficult for a woman to conceive. A recent study looks at the other side of this, examining how chemicals in a man’s system can affect the time it takes for a couple to become pregnant, showing that women aren’t the only ones whose fertility health could be in jeopardy from everyday toxins.

    The Study

    Conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, the study followed 501 couples from Michigan and Texas.  Each couple had recently decided to stop using contraceptives in an effort to become pregnant and had not been previously treated for infertility problems. Couples supplied frequent urine samples that were used to check for levels of  phthalate metabolites and BPA, and used journals to track menstruation and pregnancy test results.

    The findings

    The study primarily focused on the time it took couples to conceive while actively trying and found that in couples where men had high levels of phthalates in their urine, it took about 20% longer. The main culprits behind these lower pregnancy rates include monomethyl phthalate, monobenzyl phthalate and mono-butyl phthalate, three types of chemicals most commonly used to manufacture plastics.

    Endocrine disruptors

    When chemicals, such as phthalates, enter our bodies they disrupt and interfere with the endocrine system’s ability to manage and regulate hormone levels. These changes can drastically reduce fertility in both men and women along with causing a number of other adverse health issues. There are many studies showing how these chemicals can disrupt a woman’s cycle, inhibit ovulation and impact her ability to stay pregnant after conception but this recent study is one of the first to emphasize that these chemical are harming male fertility as well.

    What can you do?

    Many chemicals that can be bad for your health seem to be practically everywhere, making it unlikely for someone to be able to completely eliminate toxins from the system. However by taking precautions that will reduce exposure, both men and women can reduce toxin levels and minimize the effects these chemicals could be having on their body. Aside from switching to glass food and drink containers, another precaution to take is to not heat up food in plastic containers when glass is unavailable. Microwaving a plastic container to heat up your lunch, or even just leaving a plastic water bottle in a hot car can release these chemicals into the food you eat every day.

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