Common chemicals affecting women's fertility: study

Common chemicals that women are widely exposed to on a daily basis can adversely affect pregnancy rates and fertility, research by scientists at the Xinhua Hospital shows.

Chemicals widely used in products such as non-stick cookware, textiles and carpets can adversely affect fertility in women, according to research by specialists at Xinhua Hospital released on Thursday.
The study is part of a series by the hospital on reproductive health.
It is the first research in Asia into the effects of exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and women’s menstrual cycles, an important indicator in fertility.
PFAS is a group of common organic chemicals.
People can be exposed through drinking water, food and dirt and previous studies have found the chemicals affect fertility.
The Xinhua team led by Zhang Jun approached 1,182 couples going to the hospital for pre-pregnancy consultation and checks and 950 women agreed to participate in the research and give blood samples.
Researchers found traces of the 10 most common PFASs in the samples. Concentrations of four major PFASs were found to have a close relationship with women’s periods — women with higher concentrations were more likely to suffer irregular periods and low menstrual blood flow.
“We also asked them about their dietary habits, as food and water are major channels for the intake of such chemicals,” Zhang said. “Those having higher PFASs eat more animal liver, river fish and shellfish than those with low concentrations.
“People who usually drink barrel water have lower concentrations than those drinking boiled tap water. It may be related to the disinfection and processing technology, which can effectively remove certain PFASs during barreled water production.
“It means PFASs are widespread in the environment through industrial discharge and other channels. The consumption of vegetables and fruits don’t influence PFAS concentration.”
Zhang said the research could help guide lifestyles for couples who are planning to have children. Zhang also urged the government to enhance industrial discharge management.



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