Protect your child’s fertility
We love them. We care. We believe that before puberty, we don’t have to protect their fertility and have time to take care. Well, we don’t. As a mother, grandmother, or older sister you should know that there’s #fragilityinfertility. This year’s keynote lecture at #ESHRE delivered a concerning message that endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and body-care products may disrupt, in other words, speed up pubertal timing, particularly in girls. This is the topic we #inthefertility are looking into for the last two years, creating a list of potentially dangerous substances. Phthalates, parabens, and phenols are found in cosmetics and personal care products such as sunscreen, shampoos, and make-up, but the list of products, detergents, or household items, which influence our fertility is a lot longer.
The chemicals, which are not yet banned although some regulators, including the EU, have taken action to ban their use and continue to do so, can be found in personal care products and are associated with earlier puberty in girls. Kim Harley, from the University of California, Berkeley, reported that the timing of puberty in girls has been getting earlier throughout this century. A meta-analysis published this year showed that age at onset of breast development has decreased by one year over the past 40 years!
How can we protect ourselves and more importantly, how can we protect the health and fertility of our children? One of the ways is to detox your household and become a savvy consumer, looking into the list of chemicals your shampoo, deodorant, or fabric softener contains. Even lipsticks are worth checking. If you reduce the exposure, you reduce the risks.
Not surprisingly, the boys have it different. The “gender-bending” chemicals mimicking the female hormone Estrogen can disrupt the development of baby boys, causing feminization. This can be measured as the “anogenital distance” (AGD) the space between the anus and the base of the penis. However, the size of the penis is also measured in the studies looking into the effects of chemicals blunting the influence of the male hormone testosterone. It is therefore very important you avoid these products already during pregnancy.
Phthalates really are all around us as they make plastics more pliable in many cosmetics, toys, baby-feeding bottles, and paints and can leak into water and food. As the endocrine disruptors – with their estrogenic properties – work differently in males, it is of utmost importance to protect both girls and boys, starting from your pregnancy and take a very close look at anything your babies and children get skin close to.