#Health and Hygiene

Studies Claims Chemical Toxins Lower Egg Count In Ovaries

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Egg count in ovaries: According to a PTI report, decreasing fertility has been a major cause of the reduced birth rates. It shows that the decline in fertility is due to exposure to harmful toxins which reduces the egg count in women. The reported study claims to be the first of its kind to analyse the relationship between chemical contaminants and lowered eggs count in the female ovaries.

The worldwide decrease in birth rates has caused the European countries to drop below the population replacement levels, the number of children needed per woman to keep the population stable.

While this may be due to adults postponing the birth of their first child or not having children at all, there are studies that may differ on the fact that these are the underlying causes of decreased birth rates.

According to a PTI report, the decrease in fertility is a major factor in declined birth rates. The presence of industrial chemicals and toxins is one of the factors influencing fertility. While much is known about the impact of toxins present in the environment on male fertility, there has not been enough studies on the impact it has on women.

According to PTI, the study found that prolonged exposure to chemical toxins caused a reduction in the production of eggs in ovaries of reproductive-aged women. These toxins – now banned – were once in use and were consisted of flame retardants and mosquito sprays, and still remain present in the environment.

Reduced egg count in ovaries

The report studied the levels of 31 chemical toxins such as HCB (an agricultural fungicide) and DDT (an insecticide) in the blood samples of 60 women. The study involved pregnant women who were having C-section surgeries to avoid any additional surgeries for counting the number of immature eggs present in ovaries since ovaries are located inside the body.

The study reportedly found that women with higher levels of chemical toxins in their blood had fewer immature eggs present in their ovaries. It also established a causal relationship between the reduced number of eggs and higher levels of chemicals present in the body such as PCB (used in coolants), DDE (a by-product of DDT) and PBDE (a flame retardant).

Since fertility in women is dependent on their age, the researchers reportedly made sure that their calculations were adjusted according to the age of women who were being studied. The study suggested that exposure to harmful toxins lowered the count of eggs in ovaries and thus reduced fertility in women.

It was also found that it took a long time to conceive for women with higher levels of chemical toxins in the blood. The report found that the women with the highest levels of toxins had to try for about a year.

The study also suggested that “toxic chemicals may speed up the disappearance of ovarian follicles, which could lead to reduced fertility and earlier menopause.”

Exposure to “chemical soup”

The study defined chemical soup as, “The number of industrial chemicals, as well as their abundance in the environment, has steadily increased since the 1940s – with devastating effects on ecosystems, wildlife and even human fertility. Many chemicals were introduced to the market with little testing for safety. This has led to a situation where humans and the environment are exposed to an extensive “soup” of industrial chemicals.”

Many chemicals have been found harmful to reproductive health much after they had been used by consumers for daily needs. PFAS (the chemical used in Teflon, Scotch Guard, and firefighting foam), phthalates (used in plastic packaging, medical equipment, soaps and shampoos), pesticides and PCBs are some of the chemicals that were found harmful for reproductive health after decades of consumer use.

The reported study suggested that the chemical toxins in question build over time in the body thus being “persistent”, continue to contaminate the environment and affect reproductive health. It was observed that these chemicals were banned through international treaties long back.

Studies show that the chemical PCBs also affect male reproductive health by reducing sperm count and causing infertility in men. The decrease in fertility of both male and female partners would subsequently make it more difficult to conceive.

The study encourages researchers to find out if exposure to such harmful chemical toxins affects the reproductive health of women of all ages.

(Featured image is used for representational purposes.)