Are environmental health hazards effecting your fertility?
Today's society is overwhelmed with environmental health hazards!
These hazards come in many forms and are responsible for an epidemic of health complaints and illnesses throughout the world.
People are unaware of most of these threats, as there is a lack of research and/or regulations regarding the safety of certain man made substances and pollutants.
One area where this problem is becoming apparent, is with human reproductive health. It is thought that these toxins are inadvertently effecting ova (the female egg cells) and sperm cells alike!
Recent research is now is pointing towards certain synthetic chemicals being a major culprit (although the chemical companies do not agree)! The chemical industries are an estimated $3 trillion global enterprise!
There is also evidence regarding how wildlife is suffering the devastating effects of these man made substances, with bizarre deformities and reproductive abnormalities!
We will go over some of these findings, so that you and your family/friends can become more aware of these environmental health hazards that surround us all. With a little bit of knowledge, you can then make informed decisions regarding your health and welfare.
If you have been having fertility problems, this information will be of special interest to you by ‘bringing to light’ some of these related issues. Of course this information does not intend to replace a full medical check up by a professional!
Unfortunately in today's society, stress is also becoming a major hazard for our health. New research is indicating that stress and infertility may also be related. Learning how to deal with stress will help your whole body to relax, heal, and contribute towards your overall happiness in your otherwise hectic modern lifestyle!
There is a range of ways people are being exposed to these environmental health hazards including -
We ingest, inhale and absorb toxins through our skin. Our bodies just can not cope with the constant exposure and build up of these toxins within us.
Yes, this is all sounding a bit scary! You may be thinking what can you do about all these problems? In today’s world it is virtually impossible to avoid every single environmental health hazard. However, you can minimize your risk by making some recommended lifestyle changes (reduce exposure) which we will discuss later in this page.
Environmental health hazards - Xenoestrogens
This is a relatively new area of research, and is an area of growing public concern. The name Xeno comes from the Greek root word for stranger or foreigner. A 'xenoestrogen' is a synthetic substance that can mimic a human hormone called estrogen.
Estrogen mimics can send false messages throughout the body, therefore can contribute towards hormonal imbalances and infertility. These chemicals are known as 'hormone disruptors'.
Newborns are now being detected with above normal estrogen amounts in their body’s! These xenoestrogens have made their presence known through agricultural, industrial and chemical companies throughout the world over the past 70 or so years. These are definitively environmental health hazards that we can do without.
What does the estrogen hormone do?
Estrogen is actually a family of hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers within us that are formed in one part of the body, travel via the bloodstream, and affect the function of cells elsewhere in the body. There are an estimated 300 known functions for estrogen within the body! The estrogen hormone is present in both men and women (guys may be surprised).
Although estrogen is mainly known as the primary female sex hormone, it also plays an important role in the male body. Estrogen is produced in small amounts as a by-product of the testosterone conversion process.
These environmental health hazards can cause an overload of estrogen in the body. This can cause a wide range of serious health problems for both men and women. These are classed as estrogen dominance diseases.
They include female problems such as ovulation disorders, ovarian cysts, breast cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.
Some male symptoms include low sperm count, impotency, prostate enlargement/cancer as well as breast cell growth.
As these environmental health hazards can affect men's sperm health, we advise reading up on our pages regarding what a
sperm analysis reveals, and
how to increase sperm count. Early onset puberty rates of girls are rising, thought to be a side effect of these estrogen mimics. There is also great concern regarding how extra estrogen in the body may be affecting the reproductive development of young boys!
How are we coming into contact with these xenoestrogens? Good question, and the answer is overwhelming, but there are ways to reduce the risks of these environmental health hazards!
Xenoestrogens are found in -
By products of the plastic industry such as phthalates (used to increase flexibility) and bisphenol A (used to produce a clear, hard to break product). These may found in many common consumer products such as - plastic food containers, bottles, food packaging and the plastic lining inside of many canned foods or beverages. These estrogen mimics can leach out of plastic especially when heated. This environmental health hazard is a extremely widespread problem.
Pesticides, fertilizers and other sprays used on crops, are another major source of xenoestrogens. While the pesticides and such are being sprayed onto crops, a vast majority of the spray is carried off in wind drift, so pollutes the surrounding air, soil and water. Pesticide residue can be found on a lot of the food we consume.
Growth hormones fed to livestock can contain xenoestrogens. These can be found in certain meats and dairy produce. Many common household detergents and bleaches contain these estrogens, as well as artificial air fragrances.
A lot of personal care products for both men and women contain estrogens.
Petrochemicals derived from crude oil or natural gas contain xenoestrogens, including industrial chemicals, solvents, glues, paints and gasoline fumes (to name just a few)!
Birth control pills contain high estrogen doses (this is totally unnatural)! Most women are not told of the potential longer term effects from hormone disruption. Spermacide with ‘Nonoxynol-9’ as an ingredient is also a known xenoestrogen.
How to reduce exposure to xenoetrogens?
Here we have some recommended lifestyle changes that can substantially reduce your risks of these environmental health hazards! As you will see, this is quite an extensive list. Do not fret! It is hard to change a lifetime of habits overnight! If you just begin to make ‘some’ changes, slowly introducing new safer products into your life, you will already be reducing your exposure!
Avoid use of synthetic chemicals whenever possible. If you can not avoid these substances, take every precautionary measure possible to look after yourself! Always use protective safety gear such as gloves, mask etc and avoid fumes. Make sure you have adequate ventilation when using toxic substances.
If you are employed in an industry that involves working with chemicals or other toxic substances, then be extra diligent with using all the safety measures possible. Check to see if your employer is complying with the appropriate health and safety regulations.
Do your research as there are some good 'bio-friendly products' out there in the marketplace. There are companies out there that are avoiding using these hormone mimicking substances, as consumers are becoming more aware of these environmental health hazards! Do some 'investigation' before you buy!
Whenever possible replace plastic with glass or crockery for eating and drinking from. Do not re-use plastic drinking bottles. Do not use cookware that is coated in Teflon. Canned food is often lined with plastic on the inside to stop the food from taking on any metallic taste, so beware! This is one environmental health hazard that most of us use on a daily basis!
Xenoestrogens are of particular danger when plastic has been heated, so do not heat food whist it is still contained in plastic (e.g. microwave meals). Do not drink out of a plastic bottles that has been left in the sun to heat up! Avoid consuming hot beverages out of styrofoam cups.
Certain food preservatives and coloring contain xenoetrogens. Begin eating organic foods whenever possible. This is so you can avoid crops that have been grown with the use of pesticides, or meat/dairy produce that has been raised through the use of growth hormones! Wash all fruit and vegetables before eating. Use a good filter with your water supply!
Coffee is a known phytoestrogen (phyto meaning plant). This is a ‘natural’ occurring form of a weak estrogen. However, there are mixed concerns regarding the pesticide use on commercially grown coffee beans. We are told that the roasting process takes care of any residue on the beans, but there is some speculation whether this is really the case, hence more people turning to organic coffees.
Use chemical free sprays in your garden, as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, fungicides and weed killers can be highly toxic!
Buy natural based cleaning products for use in your home. Do not use artificial air fresheners as these contain hormone disrupting chemicals. Try using some natural oil scents instead. Open windows in your home daily to let the place air out.
Keep your house as dust free as possible, as toxins can float in from outside on the dust particles! Leave your shoes at the door to prevent contamination of outdoor pollutants that have settled on the ground. Cigarette smoke contains xenoestrogens, so make your home ‘smoke free' by having an outdoor smoking area for people.
Laundry detergents and fabric softeners must be chemical free, as the chemicals remain in the fabric even after the final rinse. The chemicals will be absorbed through your skin when you wear the clothing. Use only chemical free dry cleaning services!
Garages can be a dangerous source of toxins. Open your garage door regularly to let the place air out (especially if you have an internal garage under your home)! Do not leave your car running in the garage as toxic fumes will build up!
Toxins are very easily absorbed through our skin straight into our body! Personal care products can be loaded with hormone disrupting chemicals including - cosmetics, perfumes, after shave lotions, nail polishes and removers and hair dyes. Use only natural cosmetics, scents and hair colorings (there are plenty around if you do your homework)! Some shampoos and conditioners are also loaded with estrogen mimics, as well as soaps, sunscreens, and other skin care lotions.
As you can see here, we are covering our bodies with hormone disruptors! Go and check out your local health food and supply store. Make sure the products are paraben free (a preservative) . They will have all sorts of safe products for you to choose from including toothpastes, skin cleansers and moisturizers, oils and balms, deodorants, hair products and much more!
Avoid using any feminine hygiene products or toilet paper that has been bleached! Only use non perfumed products.
Avoid using Nonoxynol-9 which is used in spermicides and to lubricate condoms. This is a substance that is used in certain cleaning products!
The chemicals that you use on your pets to rid of fleas, ticks etc are highly toxic. This in turn, may rub off in your home environment, or on a family member when they touch your pet. Talk to your vet about a safe chemical free alternative.
Environmental health hazards - Heavy metals
The human body requires ‘some’ trace amounts of ‘certain’ heavy metals such as zinc or copper, however any metal ion that accumulates in our body through ‘over exposure’ can cause serious health problems and illnesses!
Studies have shown that people with heavy metal intake can suffer from reproductive problems! Heavy metal exposure is a common environmental health hazard that we need to become more aware of. This is a particular concern, especially for men and women who tend to work in certain job occupations that put them at high risk.
There are some heavy metals that have no known benefit to our body at all, but unfortunately we are ingesting, inhaling and absorbing these heavy metals through our skin. These are poisons to our body. If the homeostatic status (regulation of body function) is not working properly, then certain hormones may not be doing their jobs either. This is turn can contribute towards fertility problems.
Modern society has included heavy metal use in all sorts of industries. Therefore knowledge and prevention is the best long term solution to this environmental health hazard!
The most common heavy metals we come into contact with are -
Aluminum - This is often used in cookware, utensils cans and foils. Aluminum compounds are used in certain food processing such as some cheeses, baking powders, self raising flours, cake mixes, beers and table salts. It is one of the metals used in amalgam fillings, and is also in some toothpastes. Certain deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum. Some medications use this compound. Check with your pharmacist.
Arsenic - We can find this metal in an organic form in a lot of the foods that we consume. Seafood however can accumulate considerable amounts of arsenic from the environment.
Arsenic can found in industrial effluent, wood agents in timber treatment plants, alloying agents, the agricultural industry, glass and pharmaceuticals. Burning of fossil fuels produces this metal. Arsenic is found in the air and our water supplies.
Cadmium - This metal is of particular hazard to people who work in certain industries. The most common sources of cadmium exposure are from smelting and refining of zinc, copper and lead ores, manufacture of cadmium alloys and pigments of plastic stabilizers. People working with electroplating, production of nickel-cadmium batteries, welding and soldering are also at high risk. Cadmium is one of the toxins found in cigarette smoke.
It can be found in certain foods that have absorbed the metal through the soil as well through water supplies. Again, seafood can accumulate this metal through contamination.
Lead - This can be found in some old house paint. Industries that involve lead are plumbing, construction, welding, electronics, demolition and scrap metals. If you work with battery, rubber or plastic manufacturing, or work with lead smelting and refining you are at higher risk. Lead is a common environmental health hazard.
Check any cosmetics as some may contain lead. Hobbies such as pottery or stained glass can expose you to this metal. You can inhale lead in second hand smoke from cigarettes and it is in car exhaust fumes. This metal can settle in our soil and water.
Mercury - Coal fired power plants are a major source of mercury pollution into the air, which then settles in our soil and water. Mercury is a component in fluorescent light bulbs, but is now becoming banned in the use of other products. This metal is used in the hydroelectric, mining, pulp, paper and cement industries.
Fish can contain high amounts of mercury and is of particular risk to women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant. Mercury can cause severe damage to the fetal nervous system. The fish with high mercury amounts are usually at the top of the aquatic food chain. They are the larger breeds of fish, and older living. Certain other seafood’s can become contaminated with mercury from industrial wastes.
Like with the other toxins, if your work environment puts you at a higher risk of heavy metal exposure, make sure you are taking all the necessary precautionary measures possible.
If you suspect that you may have been exposed to heavy metals, there are diagnostic tests you can arrange to have done through your doctor. There are also now home test kits available for heavy metal detection which you can use in the convenience of your own home!
If your results confirm heavy metal build up, talk to your doctor regarding the best possible treatments/solutions to help your situation. This is an environmental health hazard that you can then avoid by making the necessary lifestyle changes required.
Environmental health hazards - Radiation sources
X-rays have the power to change cells, cause infertility and miscarriages. Male testis are extremely prone to damage through this type of radiation, therefore should be protected during any routine x-rays. Sperm count can be reduced to zero temporarily after just one low dose of x-ray. Higher doses of radiation may effect sperm production for up to two years before returning to normal. In severe cases, sperm production may never return.
Electro magnetic fields (EMF) from electrical wiring and sockets, microwaves, cell phones and computers are some examples of how people are being exposed to radiation sources. It is unnatural to have this constant field of radiation around us. With today’s technologies, you can not escape these environmental health hazards. Of course there is a lot of controversy regarding what is safe, as the industry denies risks!
It is advised not to carry cellphones in pockets (both males and females). Why take the risk? Studies are being conducted as to whether the (EMF) from phones near the crotch can damage sperm cells? There are certainly implications that this may be the case!
Regarding using a laptop on your actual 'lap'. It is believed that the heat produced from the batteries is affecting sperm counts. Studies are inconclusive as to weather the radiation emitted while using a computer on your lap is affecting fertility for either men and women (this is a huge debate at this point in time). However, we suggest using your laptop on a desk or table.
How to reduce EMF exposure? There is a growing market available for EMF protection devices as people are becoming more aware of potential risks. It may be better to play safe than sorry! Take precautions such as not keeping electrical devices next to your bed while you sleep, and keeping a distance away from computer screens. If you really need to use a microwave, have it checked periodically for leaks, and never open the door while the oven is still running.
A course of a course of detoxification is essential to help ‘rid’ your body of all that nasty toxic substance build up, which environmental health hazards cause! For guys and gals planning a baby, you must first make sure the both of you are as healthy as possible. This will improve your chances of conception and will also provide the best possible start for your unborn child.
The information you have just read is an insight regarding today's society. These environmental health hazards are all around us, and ultimately it is up to you to protect yourself! If you bring a child into this world, you now have the benefit of 'knowledge' to give your family a healthier life. We need to take action to preserve our fertility health!
Hopefully as these environmental health hazards are exposed, changes will be made to protect the future of our 'Earth' and the living beings that inhabit it!