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A new study shows that eating animal products may make it harder for you to become pregnant due to persistent environmental pollutants. The study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives, shows that couples with high levels of PCBs and similar environmental pollutants in their bodies may not become pregnant as easily as peers with lower levels of pollutants in their bodies. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions, who conducted this study note that persistent organochlorine pollutants in particular may play a role in pregnancy delay. Anything that’s organochlorine is a big bad, mainly because organochlorine pollutants accumulate in fatty tissues of both people and animals over time, and don’t go away. Because these pollutants accumulate, they are more present in our soil, water systems and the food chain. It makes sense that Dr. Buck Louis, one researcher involved in the study, points out that couples may help limit their exposure to pollutants by avoiding fat of meat and fish, and by limiting the consumption of other animal products as well.

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Pollutants in animal products is nothing new. We’ve already know that dairy products contain a slew of chemicals and hormones, flame retardants have been found in meat and dairy products and excessive antibiotics are also a major problem in animal products. PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) chemicals were another pollutant concern in this study. PCBs are found in fish but are also found in coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment. Another type of chemical, perfluorochemicals, which are used in clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces and the insulation of electrical wire may also cause a risk for your fertility.

Researchers have known for a while that pollutants can have a number of negative effects on human health, but the effects of these pollutants on human fertility and specifically, achieving pregnancy, have not been extensively studied until now. This study is a good start, but because various persistent environmental pollutants may act as reproductive toxicants, the researchers on this study note that many more studies of couples exposed to pollutants are needed. For now, if you are trying to get pregnant, you can avoid excessive chemicals and pollutants by avoiding animal products, using newer and safer non-toxic cookware and dishware that”s BPA-free and using safe home cleaners and body care products.

+ Persistent Environmental Pollutants and Couple Fecundity: The LIFE Study

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