The American Fertility Association (AFA) joins the ranks of numerous organizations that are attributing infertility to environmental toxins in some cases. The AFA publicly announced its commitment to creating a greener world for conception with the release of their Dirty Dozen Factsheet and Infertility Prevention Handbook, both of which feature environmental toxins’ impact on fertility. As evidence continues to grow supporting various environmental factors’ impact on fertility, more organizations are joining the cause to reduce and eliminate toxins that are known to be harmful to humans. The United Nation estimates that 1.3 million individuals die every year from preventable environmental and occupational causes of cancer, a number the AFA is dedicated to reducing.
The scientific research supporting the direct correlation between environmental toxins and negative health impacts has risen dramatically over the past ten years. While studies conducted in the 1990s suggested that many cases were unrelated, new data and more sophisticated tests have determined cause and effect patterns. Studies analyzing male infertility point to three main hazards: physical exposure, chemical exposure, and psychological exposure to environmental and negative health triggers that result in infertility. Epidemiological studies strongly support ethylene dibromide, glycol ethers, and a host of other chemicals as contributing to infertility among men.
Endocrine disruptors, which disrupt the development of gender specific organs, have been long documented as sources of unhealthy fetuses. Mostly found in household and beauty products, studies are typically conducted on women. The increased attention, and now declaration by the AFA adds to the growing voice that exposure to environmental toxins that is preventable, is unacceptable. Although the fertility industry has grown significantly over the past 20 years through medical and scientific advances, preventing infertility in the first place could use a financial boost.
As consumers grow more conscious of not only their environmental impacts, but also the impact of products on their health, companies will need to become increasingly aware of their products’ impacts.