Chemicals and Your Fertility
Review your personal care products to optimize your health and your fertility.
A few weeks ago I sent an email out to our list discussing the possible association of phthlates (pronounced thowl-ates) in baby products such as shampoo and skin care products. Phthlates have been shown in several studies to effect the reproductive system and other organ systems in the body. These substances, bisphenol A (BPA) and parabens have gotten a lot of attention in the press.
These chemicals may be impacting the fertility of men and women now according to a 2014 study on pthlatates and parabens published in the Washington Post, see the article here. Otherwise known as endocrine disruptors these chemicals act on the body’s estrogen pathway (and remember men have an estrogen pathway too) so studies have shown for some, they can disrupt fertility and in some cases these types of chemicals may also increase breast cancer risk according to breastcancer.org’s article here
An older article in Time Magazine also pointed out the controversy surrounding the use of chemicals in plastics and how they may impact not just adults but children as well. Check out “What’s Toxic in Toyland,” here.
Studies have linked BPA to hormone disruption, an increased risk to breast cancer and prostate cancer as well.
Whenever I talk about chemicals as endocrine disruptors I know it can be stressful. You might think, “Great! Just another thing I am doing to screw up my fertility”, but instead I hope it empowers you to become aware of what you can do to promote good health for yourself and your family. There are plenty of other good choices out there for you to pick from whether it be skin care, hair care, toys, or other products that don’t use harmful chemicals.
If they are so bad why are these chemicals allowed in products?
Great Question. In the US alone there are thousands of chemicals used in products that have not been tested on whether they impact your fertility. And the ones that are like this article showing parabens being related to male fertility issues published here at Reuters.com are only one of many that show the link, yet the chemical industry is still able to put them in products.
Why? The industries that use these chemicals support their use by citing their own studies that show the amount of the chemical used should not have any negative physiological effects on the body. This might be true if we were only exposed to that small amount from only one product. But unfortunately it appears that on average women use a minimum of 12 personal care products in the morning before they leave their home and men average about 10.
Crazy right? I personally thought my exposures would be significantly less than this considering the minimal amount of product that I thought I used in comparison to others. But after reviewing my list of morning personal care products I came up with
3-daily cleanser for my face
4-cleanser for the rest of my body
5-skin toning solution
8-hair spray (on a bad day 🙂 )
I was surprised to find that when I actually listed each product I use that I am very much spot on the average
But also consider these products:
-perfume or cologne
-all make up
-contact cleaner, saline, eye drops
So you see, there is a HUGE realistic potential for repetitive exposures to these chemicals each day.
Since we could NEVER ELIMINATE all of our exposures to chemicals (there are tens of thousands of chemicals not even tested to see what effects they can have on our health and we breath them in every day, it makes much more sense to stay calm, and empower ourselves with this information and then minimize our risks by using products that do not contain these chemicals. Easier said than done? Yes, in many cases, but certainly worth the effort.
What can you do?
I suggest to visit the website www.cosmeticdatabase.com and see if your products are listed in this database and what the potential risk is. You can enter in the name of the product and if it is in the database it will give you a score of 0-10. 10 being the worst score.
There will also be options available that show moderate, minimal and no risk so you can look for these products in the stores or on the net.
Thankfully 8 out of the 12 products I use in the morning do not contain phthlates or parabens (I contacted the company) so I reduce my exposure risk to these potentially harmful chemicals by almost 70% just by using these products. And you can bet that I will be contacting the companies of the other products I am using to see if they use phthlates, parabens or contain bisphenol A. If I can decrease my exposure then I take some load off my immune system and liver which leave these two vitals systems more ability to keep my health in balance.
Repetitive exposure to any type of chemicals can cause physiological stress on the system which can deplete our defense mechanism, i.e. the immune system. If the immune system gets overwhelmed it has a hard time maintaining health for us and this may be one of the reasons why some dis “eases” are created in the body.
Don’t act out of place of fear, act because you are wanting to focus on balance health for you and your current and future family.
What else can you do? Read labels. Do you best to eliminate the use of any products that contain parabens (which could be listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, benzyl-paraben on the labels) or phthlates (listed on some labels as DEP or DEHP).
The sad fact is however that companies are not required to even list some of these chemicals on its product labels so contacting the company and asking them point blank is often the best route. Reputable companies will have customer service personnel who can answer questions about their product.
If more consumers voice their concerns about it and the use of these chemicals potentially could effect a companies bottom line, they will hopefully eventually remove them just to maintain their profits.
Ask your government what they are doing about it? Does your government take a stand. In Europe, there are approximately 1100 chemicals that are forbidden in personal care products, all of which are not restricted in the US. Get informed, and raise this question with your local politicians. Or if this isn’t your style or you don’t have the time, support organizations that do this kind of work.
What else can you do?
As we have discussed in previous tips (see website under fertility tips for Safe Use of Plastics) be aware of your use of plastics and try to stay away from plastic toys for infants that go in the mouth or contact the company to see if they use phthlates or bisphenol A to reduce their exposures.
Go Green when it comes to cleaning supplies in your house. Stay away from air fresheners in your home and get as much fresh air in as you can.
There are so many little things you can do that can minimise your exposure. The things I have listed in this email and others as well as the many others out there on the internet are simple, not inexpensive and are really just common sense.
We have been conditioned by the commercial media that new is better but that isn’t necessarily true. Don’t stress about it, just be aware and make conscious choices based on common sense, instead of unconscious choices driven by the messages in the media which are paid for by companies wanting you to buy their product to improve their bottom line. Your health and the health of your loved ones unfortunately to many companies is not their priority. So make it your priority.
Another site I have found that has some good information with natural product choices is www.gaiam.com If you have other sites, let me know and I will review them and possibly list them on our site. In future articles I will share the specific products that I recommend to my patients that are as close to chemical free as I could find. (And most I use for myself)
But for now you can find more information about the chemical endocrine disruptors to avoid from my book The Baby Maker’s Guide to Getting Pregnan on Amazon.com by clicking the image
This is an affiliate link so should you choose to purchase from this link Naturalfertility.com will receive a small commission.
Stacey The Baby Maker
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