Toxic Chemical Exposure Threatens Human Reproduction and Health

First Posted: Oct 02, 2015 04:49 PM EDT

Toxic chemicals in the environment pose a threat to human reproduction and may be responsible for many critical health issues, according to experts.

Human exposure to toxic chemicals such as pesticides, air pollutants and plastic within the environment for over the past 40 years has resulted in increasing numbers of miscarriages, reduced brain development, birth deformities and still births along with various types of cancers, researchers at the University of California San Francisco revealed.

It is anticipated that the chemical manufacturing industry will expand immensely over the next five years within developing countries, according to the Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), which is a global reproductive health organization that collaborates with the University of California.

In the United States alone, an average of 30,000 pounds of chemicals are created or imported and an enormous amount of them have not been verified or tested. Many chemicals travel from country to country through international trade agreements. During this process, many conventional regulations and control policies that were allocated and intended for protecting societies from harsh toxic chemicals have been violated.

As a result, environmental organizations and health professional societies such as FIGO, for instance, have questioned the threats that these chemicals pose, especially to human health.

"We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals, and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern," said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, Secretary of FIGO and lead author of in a news release.

However, developing countries are at a greater risk, typically from chemical exposures that are usually the cause for lower respiratory infections. Toxic environmental chemicals are responsible for millions of deaths each year. An average of 4 million people die each year from being exposed to air pollution and lead.

Within the sub-Saharan African region, between 2005 and 2020, an average of $66 billion will be spent on pesticide poisoning of farm laborers. In the United States, $76.6 billion was spent on childhood diseases caused by environmental toxins and pollutants within the atmosphere, food, water and soil, researchers said.

"Given accumulating evidence of adverse health impacts related to toxic chemicals, including the potential for inter-generational harm, FIGO has wisely proposed a series of recommendations that health professionals can adopt to reduce the burden of unsafe chemicals on patients and communities," concluded Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, FIGO President.

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