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The Adverse Impact of PFAS on Women's Fertility

Updated: Jul 5

The Adverse Impact of PFAS on Women's Fertility

New research has revealed that PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) can have a significant detrimental effect on women's fertility. A recent study has shown a 40 percent decrease in fertility among women with elevated levels of PFAS in their blood. However, the Danish Health Authority remains cautious about providing new advice regarding this issue.

PFAS, commonly known as eternal chemicals, are omnipresent in our environment, from drinking water and rainfall to animals, soil, and plants. Unfortunately, these chemicals pose a threat to women trying to conceive, as multiple studies have linked them to reduced fertility. The most recent study, published in the international journal Science of the Total Environment, has provided further evidence of PFAS significantly diminishing women's fertility.

The researchers analyzed data from 382 women of childbearing age in Singapore who were attempting to get pregnant. They focused on three key factors: the likelihood of becoming pregnant, the time taken to conceive, and the probability of giving birth to a live child. Overall, the study revealed that women with elevated levels of PFAS in their blood had an average 40 percent lower chance of conceiving within a year.

Dania Valvi, an associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York and one of the researchers involved, highlighted the study's findings: "Our study shows that PFAS exposures can reduce the fertility of women who are generally healthy and trying to conceive naturally." Valvi emphasized that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently acknowledged that a significant portion of the global population experiences reduced fertility. She added, "Our results are very worrying, considering that one in six people globally is affected by reduced fertility today. The ubiquitous exposure to PFAS and many other hormone-disrupting chemicals can weaken the female reproductive system and may have contributed to this pandemic."

At the Institute of Public Health, experts agree that the new findings align with existing knowledge in the field. Assistant professor Amalie Timmermann from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark stated, "The more PFAS the women had in their blood, the lower their fertility." She further emphasized that PFAS are endocrine disruptors with numerous adverse health effects. Timmermann stressed the need to address the negative consequences of these substances and expressed serious concerns about their impact on fertility.

Tina Kold Jensen, a professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, echoed these concerns, emphasizing the widespread exposure to PFAS and the high prevalence of infertility. Jensen emphasized the study's findings, stating, "The study shows that PFAS can cause a significant reduction in women's fertility. I think this is thought-provoking because it aligns with what previous studies have found." Jensen also shared her own research, which revealed a higher risk of spontaneous abortion among pregnant women with elevated PFAS concentrations compared to those with lower levels.

The situation poses a challenge for women who want to eliminate PFAS from their bodies to enhance their chances of conceiving. Jensen explained, "The concentrations of PFAS in women's blood reflect accumulated exposure over several years."

What Can You Do to Reduce PFAS Exposure?

In an article, Dania Valvi stated that there is little individuals can do to reduce their PFAS exposure. However, it is not entirely accurate to claim that there are no measures one can take to minimize PFAS levels in the body.

Firstly, you can replace kitchenware containing PFAS, such as pots and pans, with PFAS-free alternatives. Fortunately, the market offers numerous options in this regard. Additionally, examine your personal care products for PFAS ingredients. Online resources or barcode scanning apps can assist in identifying products that contain PFAS. Avoid clothing treated with stain-resistant coatings and sprays for furniture. If possible, reduce your consumption of meat from animals exposed to PFAS.

Filtering your drinking water is also crucial, as PFAS is present in water sources in many countries, often exceeding acceptable limits. Shockingly, in Denmark, drinking water samples have been found to contain PFAS levels 1900 times higher than the permitted limit. If you grow your own vegetables, ensure you filter the water used for irrigation, and consider growing them in a greenhouse, as PFAS has been detected in rainwater as well. To effectively filter PFAS, you can use a reverse osmosis system or a coconut-based activated carbon block filter.

While complete avoidance of PFAS exposure is challenging, these measures can help minimize its presence in your daily life, reducing the potential impact on fertility.

Source: TV2 Denmark Link to article: PFAS can significantly damage women's fertility

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