(In)fertility in the news

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last night some type of miracle occurred and B decided to go to sleep right at bedtime instead of his usual fussing and thrashing routine.  Mommy had to work on the holiday yesterday so Daddy Daycare must have done something special to really tire out my active little tot.  Since B went down so early, I had time to eat dinner, drink a fabulous IPA, and relax on the couch with my iPad and one of my favorite apps, Zite.

I am not sure if you have ever heard of Zite, but it is an app that lets you enter the topics that you are most interested in and it delivers articles from around the web to you in an easy to read format.  My favorite topics range from "Celebrity Gossip" to "Running" to "Baking".  I also have three regularly visited topics in "Pregnancy", "Breastfeeding", and "Infertility".

Inevitably there are stories in each of the above mentioned categories that are shocking (Egh!  Kim Kardashian hasn't yet lost all of the baby weight!), but many times I come across really good articles that I would love to discuss in a blog post, but I either forget or I don't have time.  Last night I came across an interesting one within the "Infertility" topic regarding BPA and increased miscarriage risk.

The articles that I read didn't go into the detail that I wanted so I ended up linking back to the ASRM website for a press release with more information on the topic.  This press release actually had three studies mentioned that were all interesting that the newspaper articles had not even mentioned.  In a nutshell, here is what the studies showed:

1.  The first study, by Texas A&M Rural School of Public Health and the NY State Department of Health, tested the BPA/phthalate levels of 501 couples that were TTC.  It was found that the men that had higher phthlate levels had about a 20% decrease in fertility.  It was also noted that higher BPA concentrations in the females did NOT appear to decrease fertility, but in some cases higher BPA levels were associated with a shorter time to pregnancy.

2.  Another study from Stanford University, the University of California San Francisco and the University of Missouri, followed 114 newly pregnant women (4-5 weeks) and took their blood, which was tested following a birth or a miscarriage.  They found that women who had miscarriages had higher average levels of BPA in their blood. 

3.  A third Chinese study showed that women with PCOS that had higher BPA levels in their follicular fluid, may have an abnormal accumulation of androgen hormones.

Even though the FDA has only banned BPA from certain baby products (including bottles), their website recommends that all people avoid eating or drinking out of recyclable containers that are marked with a 3 or 7 (even though not all BPA containing bottles are marked).  They also recommend not putting boiling liquids into BPA containers or using them if they are scratched.  They don't really mention avoiding cans lined with BPA, which is difficult to do if you want to consume anything in a can.  When I think back to all of the scratched Tupperware containers that we microwaved and ate out of when I was younger...aye aye aye.

To me, it isn't shocking that they are finding out that so many of the chemicals that we manufacture are actually doing way more harm than they are good.  It seems like the cycle is that we come up with some great product that withstands high heat or that seals watertight and then 15-20 years later we find that it causes cancer or other issues.  Asbestos, (partially) hydrogenated oils, mercury...  I have a friend who 15 years older than me who used to break open thermometers to play with the mercury.  If they only knew then what what we know now, right?

I guess the moral of the story is that you never really know what effects the products that you use every day might have on you later in life or on your (unborn) child.  Do I think that BPA had any hand in causing my miscarriages?  I guess I could never really be certain since I did not have my levels checked.  I for one drink way too much water out of plastic bottles because the water at our house tastes like crap and I am sure has all sorts of nastiness in it.  Pick your poison, I guess.

I think the only thing that we can do is to try to live as close to the earth as possible, which seems to be getting harder and harder to do.  Eating fresh local foods that are in season and being cognizant of the chemicals that are contained within the products that we use regularly could only help us.  Check out the NRDC website for more comprehensive information on the topic, but prepare to be scared.

Do you avoid BPA and other chemicals that have been linked to causing issues in humans?  How do you do it?  I am always curious to hear things that I could be doing differently to help keep my family safe.  

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