Strong scientific evidence has emerged over the past 15 years showing that preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental toxins can have profound and lasting effects on reproductive health throughout life, and an analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data found 2003-2004. That every woman is exposed to 43 different chemicals. Chemicals in pregnant women can cross the placenta and in some cases accumulate in the fetus resulting in greater fetal exposure than maternal exposure.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shruti N Mane, consultant fertility and maternity fertility and IVF specialist at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, explained, “A group of chemicals known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been shown to interfere with the role. Certain hormones, homeostasis and developmental processes. It represents a heterogeneous group of agents used in pesticides, plastics, industrial chemicals and fuels.
One study shows that the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol-A acts in a fashion comparable to diethylstilboestrol at the cellular and developmental level, and research clearly shows that many industrial chemicals can affect thyroid function. Dr Shruti N Mane explained, “Exposure to environmental chemicals is linked to various adverse health outcomes and can lead to adverse reproductive health outcomes at any time of patient exposure. Adult male exposure to pesticides is associated with altered sperm quality, infertility, and prostate cancer.”
Highlighting that the use of certain pesticides can disrupt all developmental stages of adult women’s reproductive functions, including puberty, menstruation and ovulation, fertility and fertility, she said, “Most environmental chemicals have entered the market without detailed and standardized information on their reproductive or reproductive potential. . Other long-term toxic effects.”
What is microplastic?
Dr. Shruti N Mane replied, “Microplastics are pollutants that occur in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems at almost every level of the food chain. Furthermore, airborne microplastic particles have been shown to reach and potentially damage the respiratory system. Microplastics have been shown to cause increased oxidative stress, inflammation, altered metabolism leading to cellular damage, which ultimately affects tissue and biological homeostasis in many human cells. Plastics (long polymer chains) are widely used due to their versatility and durability, which has led to substantial plastic waste accumulation in the environment (MacLeod et al., 2021). Macroplastics (1 cm and larger) present ecological problems due to entanglement and entanglement, congestion of the digestive tract and physical barriers to the food supply.
She added, “Plastic polymers can also be changed in size (macro-, micro-, and nanoplastics) and shape (spheres, fibers, and fragments) by exposure to UV light, heat, or waves in the aquatic environment. Through biological degradation, these form microplastics.” These non-degradable materials contaminate one’s food and water. When one consumes products containing microplastics, they settle in our tissues and can affect body functions. These processes lead to environmental weathering of MPs/NPs, which, as plastic particles age, release chemicals from these pollutants. Increases leaching. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) used as additives to create plastics such as estrogenic and anti-estrogenic phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, and bisphenol A also interfere with animal and human biology.”
Microplastics and their effects on reproductive health:
It’s no secret that fertility is the ability to produce offspring and it depends on gonad tissue integrity, as well as egg and sperm quality, but chemicals can affect one’s fertility. Dr Shruti N Mane said, “Microplastics can cause infertility. Here, we decode the link between microplastics and infertility. Did you know? Microplastics are commonly found in fruits and vegetables, with the highest concentration in apples. Microplastic particles less than 5 millimeters in diameter have been found in sewage, soil, oceans, seafood, drinking water and even table salt.
Talking about the effects, she said, “Oxidative stress induced tissue damage and resulting apoptosis, poor gamete quality, developmental abnormalities, neurotoxicity, metabolic disorders or epigenetic changes are direct and in utero exposure effects of microplastics. Phthalates, bisphenols poly- and per fluorinated alkyl substances Chemicals, such as zinc, are commonly used to produce everyday goods and are therefore often released into the environment as waste. For example, bisphenol A (BPA), a plasticizer used in the synthesis of phenol resins, polyacrylates, polyesters, epoxy resins, and polycarbonate plastics, beverages, and used for the production of food packaging, and in conditions of high temperature exposure or pH. Variations (eg, washing in washing machines, heating food in microwaves, contact with acid foods) are released into wastewater, contaminating food and beverages, causing both ecotoxicological and health risks. represents.”
On male infertility, Dr Shruti N Mane said, “You’d be surprised to know that increasing consumption of toxic chemicals, including those used in plastics, is associated with an alarming decrease in sperm count. Male fertility is affected due to low sperm count almost dramatically. Thus the incidence of male infertility is expected to increase in the coming years. It is not possible to completely avoid the use of plastic. It is everywhere in food packaging, household goods, furniture, clothing and cars, and the list is long and never ending.”
Microplastics and Male Infertility:
Rising rates of infertility have displaced attention to gametogenesis and gamete quality, once considered a “woman’s problem.” Male infertility has increased and sperm quality has declined in recent decades. Dr. Shruti N. Mane cautioned, “In about 40% of men with abnormal spermatogenesis, the etiology remains unknown even after a thorough diagnostic workup. Decreased sperm quality has been reported in individuals exposed to environmental pollutants.”
She said, “Tissue-accumulation kinetics and distribution patterns depend on the size of microplastic particles. MPs accumulate in tissues in one’s testicles. They lead to oxidative stress, inflammation and tissue damage. Oxidative stress with age-dependent reduction in antioxidant activity and mitochondria dysfunction are the main causes of testicular and sperm damage.
Attributing excess production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to spermatogenesis failure, she said, “This can affect sperm production as well as sperm quality, leading to infertility and couples not being able to conceive. Studies in humans have compared urinary BPA levels with semen parameters, providing evidence of a possible BPA association with poor semen quality.
Microplastics and female infertility:
According to Dr Shruti N Mane, food packaging, makeup, personal care products like food additives and many other products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs. He points out, “It affects very early fetal cells during pregnancy causing problems. Phthalates are used to make plastics soft and flexible and as a preservative agent for fragrances in personal care products. They can cause reduced egg quality and early puberty in young girls. Ovarian Fibrosis, apoptosis and pyroptosis of granulosa cells are the main consequences of MP-induced oxidative stress in female rats.
She added, “It has been suggested that long, continuous exposure to environmental pollutants from prenatal life through puberty may influence the genotype that predisposes women to manifest the PCOS phenotype. Plasticizers have been found in animal models to affect DNA methylation leading to a PCOS-like phenotype. can directly affect theca cells to secrete androgens and further displace testosterone from SHBG, thereby increasing the free androgen index and disrupting the androgen-to-estrogen balance. Evidence from rat models has shown that exposure to high doses of BPA during the neonatal period The result is a PCOS-like phenotype in adulthood, with elevated serum testosterone and estrogen levels, decreased progesterone, and ovarian cysts.”
Dr. Shruti N. Mane emphasized, “Such exposure leads to changes in GnRH pulsatility and pituitary GnRH signaling as well as reproductive parameters, which may be important in PCOS development. Exposure to such plasticizers and their chemicals can affect ovarian steroidogenesis, which in turn can disrupt the intrafollicular environment and impair the maturation of oocytes in women. They have also been shown to disrupt oocyte development, growth, and maturation in preovulatory follicles and cause anovulation in women.
Microplastics and Abortion:
Environmental toxins have been suggested to play a role in spontaneous abortion. Dr. Shruti N. Mane said, “Environmental toxins not only affect the developing fetus, there is also the possibility of changes in the endometrium, i.e. decidua, of pregnancy. Successful implantation requires a complex biochemical dialogue between the blastocyst and the decidua. Several studies have shown a dose-dependent increase in miscarriage with these endocrine disrupters due to altered gene expression of the endometrium, abnormal growth and proliferation of the endometrium.”
Suggesting to protect their fertility, she said, “It will be mandatory for everyone to eat organic food and avoid processed food. Avoid using products such as pots and pans with Teflon or other coatings. Avoid drinking water from plastic cups or bottles and instead choose reusable bottles made of stainless steel or glass. Remember not to microwave food or drinks in plastic containers. When it comes to using personal care products, they should be scented or natural products.
Dr. Shruti N. Mane concluded, “Pregnant women and women who are pregnant or giving birth should eat fruits, vegetables, beans, pulses and greens every day, avoid fast food and other processed foods as much as possible and limit their meals. High in animal fat. Patients should be advised that some large fish, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, contain high levels of methylmercury (EDC), which is known to be teratogenic. By taking these measures you can help preserve your fertility and improve your chances of having a baby.”