According to a new research carried out by specialists working with the US National Institutes of Health, couples who are exposed to significant levels of persistent environmental pollutants are quite likely to experience a harder time conceiving.
In other words, the presence of various environmental pollutants in soils, water and the food chain makes it more difficult for women to get pregnant. As well as this, it seems that exposure to the pollutants taken into consideration for this study also affects the men's ability to father children.
Some of the environmental pollutants studied in this research (i.e. different types of organochlorine pollutants) are no longer in use.
However, the scientists who looked into this issue explain that more often than not, these chemical compounds tend to linger in the environment for decades after they were first introduced there.
Moreover, they accumulate in the fatty tissues of some of the animals that are part and parcel of one's diet. This basically means that they can only be avoided by choosing to no longer eat meat or to simply remove the fat it contains.
On the other hand, other pollutants found to impact on fertility (i.e. perfluorochemicals) are still being used to make clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, and the insulation of electrical wire, the study explains.
Lastly, some of these pollutants are banned in the US, but they are still in use in other countries, meaning that they can potentially travel from one part of the world to another.
The study's first author, Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D., made a case of how, “Our findings suggest that persistent organochlorine pollutants may play a role in pregnancy delay.”
Still, the researchers wished to emphasize that further studies were needed so as to prove that their findings were not in any way influenced by the presence of various chemical compounds which remained unaccounted for.
“The investigators noted that they cannot rule out that some of the delays they observed may have been due to exposure to multiple chemicals. They added that these associations would need to be confirmed by other researchers,” the official website for the US National Institutes of Health reads.