Environmental Exposures: Tips for Reproductive Health

Environmental exposures to certain toxins can affect your overall health, especially your reproductive health. Studies show the association with toxins and diseases, including endometriosis with pesticide exposure, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and BPA, mercury with lower IQ, pregnancy loss and pesticides, pthalates with behavioral changes in young girls, BPA with obesity, and the list goes on...

What can you do? Avoid as much as possible the following:

Most common in high mercury fish and skin-lightening creams. Highest in the following fish: mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish and TUNA

Older homes often have lead paint, which can be breathed directly or touched. Ensure proper testing before any home remodeling.  Along with old paint, lead can also be found in playground equipment including artificial turf, or even dirt.  A great way to prevent this lead from being spread through your house is to take off your shoes upon entering your home and not wearing them inside. 

Always try to buy organic foods, especially those classified as the worst on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list, and when not buying organic be sure to wash in an acid-based cleaner (such as vinegar). 

BPA is found in high concentrations in receipts and canned foods. Avoid receipts if you can, and store them seperately, such as in a small envelope. Limit intake of canned foods, and chose BPA-free canned foods when possible. Avoid polycarbonate plastic bottles, steel or glass are better.

Pthalates are found it soft plastics, such as PVC and vinyl products. They are also used in cosmetics and personal care products (often labeled as "fragrance") such as nail polish, cologne, shampoo, hand lotion. Pthalates are also found in vinyl flooring, insect repellant, ziploc plastics, dairy products, any plastics with recycling codes 3 or 7. And unfortunately, since PVC pipe is what is used for most water pipes today, pthalates are commonly found in drinking water, but the good news is that these are easily filtered with a charcoal filter.