An endocrine disruptor (EDC) is defined by the European Union Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity, and Environment as “an exogenous substance or mixture that alters the function(s) of the endocrine system and, as a result, causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, its progeny, or (sub)population.”
Because these compounds are prevalent in the environment and in common items, humans are exposed to them on a regular basis. Many advancements have been made in our knowledge of these compounds and their potential effect on animal and human reproductive health, and they have been connected to a number of illnesses, including infertility.
Infertility is a major social issue, affecting 15% of reproductive-aged couples. Many variables affect this, including a rise in the prevalence of sexually transmitted illnesses, the effect of lifestyle choices, and late decisions regarding reproduction. Environmental endocrine-disrupting substances, although seldom resulting in permanent infertility, may substantially lengthen the time to conception.
Some studies have demonstrated that industrial chemicals may interact with the endocrine system (interfere with hormone production, function, storage, and/or metabolism) and have negative consequences on reproductive health and development. As such, they have been dubbed “endocrine disruptors” and have been suggested as one of many potential environmental exposures to blame for the apparent reductions in fertility. EDCs may imitate or oppose the activity of steroid hormones and affect steroid signalling, leading to poor health outcomes and disease development. EDCs may hurt reproductive health and may play a role in the aetiology of infertility, according to human and animal evidence.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical used to produce many popular consumer goods, including polycarbonate plastic bottles for infants, water bottles, epoxy resins for the lacquer lining of food and beverage cans, water pipes, and certain dental sealants and composites. Repetitive exposure of BPA-containing items to light and heat, contact with cleaning chemicals, and product ageing may enhance BPA leaching into food or drinks. BPA exposure may occur through ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption.
Because of their oestrogen-like action, ovarian cells seem to be a susceptible target for BPA (BPA can interact with oestrogen receptors). Studies show that BPA may imitate or antagonise the actions of oestrogen and may have an unfavourable and direct influence on egg development and implantation, implying that BPA exposure may affect female fertility.
Triclosan (TCL) is a well-known EDC extensively utilised in the food and personal care industries. It is an endocrine disrupting chemical that is widely used as an anti-bacterial ingredient in soaps and toothpaste. It has the potential to alter thyroid and sex hormone homeostasis. TCL may be taken orally, dermally, and inhaled, although ingestion is the most common method. TCL has been found in blood, breast milk, urine, adipose tissue, and the liver.
Parabens are a chemical family widely employed as an antimicrobial preservative in personal care items, medicines, and foods. Paraben exposure may occur via eating, inhalation, or skin absorption. Parabens do not accumulate in the body after intake but are degraded by esterases, conjugated, and eliminated with urine, bile, and faeces. Parabens are thought to be endocrine disruptors.
Phthalates are a class of synthetic compounds that are found in a broad range of consumer goods. There are two types of phthalates: high molecular weight phthalates and low molecular weight phthalates. High molecular weight phthalates are often employed in manufacturing plastics, whereas common molecular weight phthalates are commonly utilised in the creation of cosmetics. Animal evidence indicates that certain phthalates are endocrine disruptors through altered endogenous steroid hormone signalling; there is a possible risk of accelerated follicle loss and reproductive ageing in humans.
Women of reproductive age should avoid exposure to these endocrine disruptors. Unfortunately, these chemicals are common in the environment and may be difficult to avoid. Is it safe to say that is the infertility on the rise? People come into frequent contact with these chemicals, which has prepared the path for increasing infertility. This is concerning since several EDCs have been shown to target the female reproductive system, particularly the ovary. The ovary is the primary organ in females, responsible for reproductive and endocrine activities. Furthermore, because of the extensive usage of ECDs, many of these investigations may be muddled by the inclusion of numerous substances.
Bisphenol A has been found to have a variety of impacts on the quality of sperm in animals. Many studies indicate that BPA jeopardises DNA integrity. The integrity of DNA is required for embryonic development. DNA damage may result in embryonic failure and early miscarriage, or it can result in children with severe birth abnormalities. Numerous animal studies have shown that BPA affects sperm parameters, hormone levels, and fertility, although results are not always repeatable, and the mechanisms of action are not well understood. BPA may have a number of impacts on spermiogenesis variables, which may lead to a decrease in reproductive potential.
Pesticide Several studies have shown that different herbicides reduce testosterone levels. Because testosterone is needed for the last stages of sperm maturation, a reduction in intra-testicular testosterone is likely to affect fertility.
Flammable substances The effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers on reproductive function in humans have also been studied. Sperm motility was shown to be adversely associated with concentrations of some subtypes of these compounds in sperm samples obtained from men visiting reproductive clinics, but not others. There was no link observed between sperm density or aberrant morphology. Brominated flame retardants have also been linked to an increased incidence of infertility by 7.22 percent and a 33 percent decrease in sperm motility in studies.