Can Plastic Affect Fertility – Health Effect Of Plastic
Can Plastic Affect Fertility: Last time, we discussed the harmful effects of plastic bottles and some ways of recycling them.
For this topic, we will discuss how plastic can affect one’s fertility, specifically on males.
A Bit About Waster
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How Does Plastic Affect One’s Fertility?
We should know by know how plastic negatively affects the environment. Reports have been swirling around that not only does it affect our surroundings, but also our reproductive health.
Apparently, plastics have something to do with the growing number of males experiencing signs of infertility. The chemical mainly responsible for this is Bisphenol A (BPA for short). Found in polycarbonate plastics, BPAs are often used in the food and drink containers. Additionally, they can also be used in other goods. Along with plastic, BPA also makes up canned goods. A study involving 94 people aged 17 to 19 years old found that more than 80 per cent of these teenagers have BPA in their bodies.
Now, how does this plastic chemical affect one’s fertility? Apparently, it affects the endocrine system negatively. It may cause miscarriages, problems in puberty, and lower sperm count.
Fortunately, food with very low levels of BPA is still safe to consume. Here are some ways on how to reduce our exposure to this dangerous chemical compound (courtesy of Mayo Clinic):
- Use BPA-free products. In order to avoid BPA from entering your body, you have to make sure to use BPA-free products. Luckily, manufacturers now avoid using BPA in their products.
- Reduce buying canned goods. Some canned goods still contain BPA.
- Do not heat. Do not put plastics in the microwave oven or dishwasher. The heat breaks down the plastic and as a result, allows BPA to creep onto the food.
- Use other alternatives. Drink water using glass instead of drinking in plastic water bottles. Additionally, do not use plastic utensils and plates in eating. Use the stainless steel ones, instead.
But is BPA all there is to it?
Plastic does affect one’s fertility; it causes infertility. According to Nottingham research cited by The Guardian, the quality and quantity of males’ sperm are on the decline. The research suggested that sperm counts dropped in half in the last 50 years or so in the past 80 years. Additionally, a high percentage of those sperm are poor swimmers – genetically flawed and slow.
Surprisingly, dogs’ sperm count have also fallen by 30 per cent because of the same reasons.
Scientists are not really sure what’s going on, but they suspect that plastic chemicals play a part in this. They say the culprit could be living an unhealthy lifestyle like drinking, smoking, and overeating.
Our house usually contains DEHP and PCB 153, plastic chemicals responsible for messing our health. This includes household items like rugs, clothes, etc.
DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate) is commonly found in plastic products such as clothes, furniture, toys, and flooring. On the other hand, PCB 153 can usually be found in foods rich in fat.
Aside from showings of infertility, these chemicals also cause cancer, liver complications, and different types of cognitive deficits in children.
Plastic Also Affects Women’s Fertility
Aside from lowering the male’s sperm count, BPA also affects women and newborn babies. It mainly affects the number of follicles in a woman’s reproductive system.
Here we see an exchange between Dr Anne Henderson and Metro.co.uk, found on Metro.co.uk’s official site.
“Over the last few years there has been a great deal of interest among both health experts and the general public regarding the potential risks of plastics in daily life, particularly during pregnancy,” gynaecologist Dr Anne Henderson from Doctify, tells Metro.co.uk.
“The key focus has been around certain chemicals called phthalates such as BPA (bisphenol A), which are used during the manufacture of plastic products to make them more flexible and softer.”
“The mechanism of entry to the body is not entirely clear, but it is thought that minute amounts of these chemicals can leach into fluids, for example, from bottles containing water and other fluids, and are thus ingested.”
“Exposure to BPA may affect the human reproduction system, particularly in women, by affecting the number of follicles which result in the formation of mature eggs which can then ovulate and be fertilised.”
“There is additional evidence that maturation of follicles becomes abnormal resulting in an increased risk of chromosomal defects, such as Down’s syndrome. The mechanism of action is not fully understood but BPA is thought to have a possible oestrogen-like impact on both men and women.”
Can Plastic Affect Fertility: Prevention
If the researches hold true, how do we even prevent plastic chemical, or anything else, from affecting our fertility? Let me state some ways how:
- Avoid using plastic products as much as possible.
- Live a healthy lifestyle.
- Avoid using drugs.
- Do not consume too much alcohol.
Can Plastic Affect Fertility: Conclusion
Nobody knows for sure if plastic affects a human’s fertility or not. Scientists need to study it more in order to prevent it from endangering our health and reproduction. Additionally, it should be noted that in order to prevent plastic from harming us, we have to reduce using it so much.
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