Environmental Toxins causing infertility
It’s been 9 months since we’ve seen each other and I’m so happy to be back with you! Starting this month, you’ll be hearing from me again, once a month, with all the fertility, health, diet and lifestyle tidbits that you can really use to help you on your journey – and that you’ve come to expect from me in the time we’ve known each other.
So let’s get started!
What have I been up to for the past 9 months? Lots of things! One thing, though, that I’ve spent a lot of time on recently is researching and learning about the toxins that can permeate our lives, and by extension, our fertility.
Toxins are everywhere. There is no way to completely avoid them, sadly. Toxic chemicals are everywhere, from the air that we breathe to the food we eat to the furniture we sit on. Experts conservatively estimate that we’re exposed to 70,000 different chemicals every day.
Holy moly. That’s a huge number.
To give you a little perspective, if each chemical was a standard-sized marble, 70,000 of them would fill up a 37-gallon (or 140-liter) container.
37 gallons worth of chemicals. Every day of our lives. And that’s a conservative estimate.
So the sheer volume is staggering. Add in that there are 70,000 different chemicals – like, who even knew that there were that many chemicals to begin with, right? In addition, all these chemicals do different things, and affect us all differently.
The wrong cocktail of chemicals can really affect our ability to get – and stay – pregnant in a bad way.
The main reason that we need to think about the chemicals we’re exposed to is that most chemicals are what are called endocrine disruptors– that means, they prevent our hormones from functioning normally.
Given that our monthly cycle is a dance of hormones, it’s a no-brainer that we want to have hormones that are in good working order.
How in the world can we make sure of that in today’s society?
On the one hand, it can really make a person feel powerless.
Do we need a PhD in chemistry to simply live our lives?
If chemicals are everywhere, how can we stop them? I mean, if they’re in the air, we can’t exactly stop breathing, right?
The key is to look for those “quick wins” – those areas where you can do things are seemingly minor but that are actually very significant. These are the things where you can get the biggest bang for your buck in improving your fertility and overall health.
Here are 5 such quick wins — simple ways you can reduce your exposure to harmful toxins and have significant power over the chemicals you’re exposed to on a daily basis – and make quick, impactful, improvements to your fertility.
- Get an organic mattress.If you have to choose one place to go organic, it’s your bed. Think about it – we (hopefully) spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping. We also spend a lot of time in bed watching TV, resting, hanging out and doing other things in the name of our fertility (wink, wink), so the total time spent in bed is actually more than 1/3 of our lives.
You can start out by switching to organic sheets, bedding and pillows; big quick win! When it’s time to buy a new mattress, go organic. This can be costly, so start saving your money now for when the time comes (I have).
- Look at your skin. A good rule of thumb when examining toxics exposure is to look at anything topical – i.e., that comes into contact with your skin. Our skin’s job is to protect the inside of our bodies from toxins, and by minimizing the toxins we put on our skin just makes the whole job easier.
This includes personal care products like deodorant, moisturizer, cosmetics, and the clothes we wear (think organic cotton). There are many brands and it requires some experimentation and patience – I’m still on the hunt for a deodorant I like.
- Use glass and canvas. Plastic became popular in the 1960s, when people saw how convenient they were – inexpensive, easy to produce and lightweight (the strong plastics lobby didn’t hurt either). Fact of the matter is, many plastics are loaded with harmful chemicals. The process of producing them is also harmful. Using Tupperware to store food means toxic chemicals will leach into your food (yuck).
Ditch all that plastic, and use glass for your food storage and canvas bags when you go shopping. In addition to being less harmful, they’re reusable and less to go in landfills later on.
For those times you must use plastic, look for plastic labeled BPA-free. BPA is a harmful endocrine disruptor; according to researchers from Harvard University it disrupts the reproductive process. It’s also been linked to cancer, so its health risks expand beyond fertility.
- Go scent-free. That floral perfume you adore may smell sweet but it’s deadly. In tests, the US Environmental Protection Agency found that most perfumes contain at least 10 deadly chemicals, as well as host of other mystery ingredients.
It isn’t just perfume but anything with a scent – candles, laundry detergent, scented sachets, and so on.
Go scent free for your detergents and cleaning products. If you must scent your home (or your person) look into essential oils.
- Avoid paper receipts. Plastics aren’t the only substance to contain harmful BPA. Have you noticed that the paper for the merchant and cash machine receipts we get everywhere feels waxier and is shinier than it used to be? That coating allows heat resistance and ink-free printing from cash registers and is a product of BPA, a serious endocrine disruptor.
It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 receipts contain toxic BPA. Considering that an estimated 11 billionreceipts are printed each year in the UK alone, that’s a lot of opportunities for us to be exposed to harmful toxins that pose serious health and fertility risks to us.
Avoid paper receipts as much as you can, at the ATM machine and in the store. Most merchants give you the opportunity to refuse a receipt, especially with credit card transactions.
You won’t have eliminated all toxins from your life, but if you start with these suggestions, you’ll be on a good path. As time goes on, you can incorporate even more toxin-reducing strategies. We’ll continue to look at strategies here on the blog.
To your fertility,