There is much concern nowadays about all the many chemicals we are exposed to in our lives. These include pesticides, heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury), and chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors (hormone disrupting chemicals), such as BPA and phthalates. These chemicals are all around us and are linked to all sorts of health effects, including chronic diseases and reproductive effects - such as infertility, declining sperm counts, adverse effects on the developing baby, and endometriosis.
There is an excellent 7 part series of webinars that one can watch called Generation Chemical: How Environmental Exposures are Affecting Reproductive Health and Development. Big names in the field discuss the latest science on the impact of harmful chemicals and pollutants on female and male reproductive health, pregnancy, and development, starting from preconception and through life.
Yes, it's in depth, but also eye-opening. For example, the evidence is now raising the questions: Are fertile people healthier? Does poor sperm quality mean poorer health? Or earlier death? Research suggests that sperm count and quality are "canaries in the coal mine" for male health - evidence of harm to men from environmental and lifestyle influences.
Also, keep in mind that while you can't totally avoid harmful chemicals, you can really minimize your exposure and the levels measured in you. Avoiding Harmful Chemicals gives good ways to reduce exposures to harmful chemicals. This is especially important for both males and females if thinking about conception or pregnant.
SEVEN PART WEBINAR SERIES: 1) Introduction. Oct. 29, 2020. Discussed declining sperm counts that have been occurring worldwide over the last few decades - 52.4% decline in 38 years among men from Western countries, and the decline is still continuing. Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on men's and women's fertility, conception delay, pregnancy loss, some diseases, and endometriosis.
2) Environmental Reproductive Justice: Racial disparities in environmental pollution and chemical exposures. Nov. 18, 2020
3) Infertility. December 10, 2020 at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT
Latest evidence of the effects of air pollution and phthalates on follicle health, fecundity (the potential for reproduction), and fertility. [Video not yet available.]
4) Preconception Exposures. January 28, 2021 at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT
How exposures to chemicals before couples conceive affect fetal and child development
5) Prenatal Exposures and Fetal Outcomes. February 2021, Date TBD.
Impacts of oil and gas development, pesticides, phthalates and social stressors on increased risk of autism and adverse birth outcomes.
6) Prenatal Exposures and Maternal Outcomes. March 2021, Date TBD.
How prenatal exposures to chemicals including flame retardants, plasticizers, pesticides, lead, and PFAS are linked to adverse maternal health outcomes.
7) Male Reproductive Health. April 2021, Date TBD.
How air pollution is affecting semen quality and how chemical exposures in the workplace can jeopardize health and reproduction.
An article at Environmental Health News discusses the 7 part series: Top scientists explain how small exposures have a huge impact