Chemicals In the Home & Their Effect On Our Fertility


There I was, having about an hour of free time, and deciding to catch up on TV entertainment. My favorite series were not showing yet, and I didn’t have enough time to see a movie, so I finally settled for The Ellen Show. Interestingly, one of the guests she had on that day’s show was a Reproductive Health Expert. I was contemplating changing channels when I heard Ellen say “After the break, find out how your own home might be getting in the way of your fertility”. Oh, that got me hooked! During the commercial break, I kept wondering how our homes could be limiting our fertility, and I decided she must have been talking about the importance of our diets, or something cliché. I was in for a surprise when they returned and she started interviewing this expert (I can’t remember his name). I was shocked when he said “Sometimes, the barrier between you and getting pregnant is lurking around in the comfort of your home”. Ellen made jokes about not being bothered about her fertility, but admonished her audience to pay attention as the expert continued.

The list of chemicals came forth, and my jaw dropped as he listed and explained. Antiseptic soap, for example? What did that have to do with our fertility? I was perplexed, until he explained that some antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, shampoos and dish washing liquids could contain a chemical called Triclosan, which could mess up your hormones and interfere with your reproductive system. A quick research and I found out that Triclosan is linked to endocrine disruption, and also affects the thyroid hormone. Although, Triclosan is probably best known as the bacteria-fighting ingredient in liquid soap, it is also used in trash bags, toothpaste and dishwashing liquid. I ran to my kitchen and checked my dish washing liquid; luckily, it didn’t contain Triclosan. Please be sure to check the ingredients for the toothpaste, shampoo, soaps and dish-washing liquids you buy.

Another chemical he mentioned that caught my attention was Phthalates, which was new to me. When he explained that most men with lower sperm count, or sperm without motility problems, have been found to have Phthalates in their blood, I got scared. Now, he didn’t end there! He said Phthalates has also been linked to Endometriosis, and what’s worse? Our shower curtains and plastics all contain phthalates. The audience on the show screamed in horror, and even Ellen had to ask what can be done to avoid this chemical. Dear Expert cautioned us against using plastic containers to eat or drink, and also against using these same plastic containers to warm food in the microwave, as heat can cause these chemicals to leak into our food. Now, if you are like me, you probably save your stews and soups in plastic containers, and then heat up in the microwave when the rise arises. Since that day, I have been looking for an alternative to that, and I hope I find one soon. I really don’t want any business with Phthalates. For the shower curtains and nail polish, he said we should look out for the ones made of vinyl, as those are the ones with the phthalates chemicals. That one is sure easy to do, right?

When he mentioned Laptops, I was in my head like “Oh yeah! I know that one”. Right from the days when we were trying to conceive, our doctor already warned us against carrying laptops on our laps, because of radiation. The advice was directed at my husband, but I have been good to also use a throw pillow to barricade the laptop from my thigh, if I can’t work from a desk or table. Researchers have long found out that men who work a lot with their laptops on their thighs, have higher scrotal temperatures, which has a negative effect on sperm production and sperm health. This was reiterated by our Ellen Degeneres Fertility Expert, so please make sure to mention this to DH. Laptops, phones, tablets…keep these away from your skin as much as possible. I also heard that men should avoid carrying their phones in their pockets as much as possible.

This one, I had also heard in passing from a doctor friend, but I didn’t have much detail; well, now I do! Did you know that canned food and bottled water are also not advisable for us? Water bottles, canned food, and many food containers contain Bisphenol A (BPA). Researchers have found that the higher BPA found in a man’s urine, the lower his sperm count. Studies also show that women with twice as much BPA in their bloodstreams had less viable eggs. Recent studies also found BPA in receipt papers, so be sure to wash your hand after touching receipts and money. Hand sanitizer to the rescue! The Fertility Expert said the longer time it takes for us to consume these canned food or bottled water, the more BPA we ingest, so he advised that we check manufacturing dates, and consume products as close to their manufacturing dates as possible; if it is impossible to cut off canned food and bottled water entirely.

And then, he also made mention of wall paintings! The time for his interview was running up at this point, so I had to check it out for myself. I found out that some paintings, especially water-paints contain a chemical called glycol which is also found in varnishes and thinners; high amounts of this chemical in the body can disrupt a menstrual cycle and or even cause a miscarriage! The guys are not left out, as glycol is also known to diminish sperm quality!! I guess we have to ensure that our paints and varnishes do not contain glycol, in the event of any repainting or refinishing on the furniture.

I bet you are going to look at things around the house with new lens now. I am in that phase right now!

God help us all!!!





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