Over the last 25 years, infertility struggles have been linked largely to couples waiting longer to conceive. Over the same span of time, as more women (and men) of younger ages have seen their rates of infertility increase, it has come more into focus with current research studies that the chemicals in our environment known as “Endocrine Disruptors” are just as big of a threat to our fertility in the long-term. Endocrine disruptors show up in nearly every aspect of our daily lives now – in our food, air, water, body care products, and common household items. There are thousands of chemicals that belong in the endocrine disruptor category, the biggest offenders tend to be plastics, insecticides and herbicides, nonstick coatings, flame retardants, and fragrances. They affect our fertility by mimicking hormones and subsequently altering many of our bodily processes from metabolism to reproduction. Sperm counts have gone from an average sample containing over 100million sperm to just 15 million in the last couple decades. We currently have no way of calculating the same impact on egg quality in women trying to conceive.
Yes, this can be a bit overwhelming! But there are many easy choices you canmake at home that have profoundly beneficial effects on reproductive health. These tips are good for everyone, especially if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or have children in your home who will one day try to get pregnant.
- Avoid plastics, especially around food and drinks – use stainless steel or glass water bottles, never heat food in a plastic container, and store food in glass Tupperware.
- Eat organic whenever possible and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, a 1:3 white vinegar to water soak for 15 minutes works great for most items.
- Use natural cleaning products in the house and avoid items with heavy fragrances. Websites like www.ewg.org are a great way to find vetted brands you can trust.
- Likewise, only use body care products that don’t contain parabens or phthalates. Lotions that go on the skin are absorbed right into the bloodstream so it’s important to keep your body-care free of chemicals. www.ewg.org has a database called Skin Deep which is a great resource for all beauty products.
- In your home, stick to natural materials like wood floors, jute rugs and cotton instead of furniture and mattresses that contain flame retardants, stain repellants or waterproofing agents.
- Drink filtered water to reduce it’s chemical content and run HEPA air filters to help purify the air you breathe in your home.