Interference with normal reproductive systems

Reproductive toxicity means that one or many chemical substances interfere with the normal human reproductive system. Some medicines, cosmetics and household products contain chemical ingredients that may have negative effects on both the male and female reproductive systems.

The chemicals that affect the male reproductive system could lower sperm count, alter sperm shape, change sexual behaviour and increase infertility. However, there are more toxicants that can target the female reproduction and cause negative effects. Some examples are altered sexual behavior, gestation time (the time carrying an embryo or fetus), and menstrual disorders. Also possibly toxic for reproduction are the ingredients that belong to the category endocrine disruptors; as hormones affects many parts of the body.

  • Early or delayed puberty
  • Early pregnancy loss
  • Fetal death
  • Impaired fetal growth
  • Subfertility (less than normally fertile)
  • Infertility (inability to reproduce by natural means)
  • Low birth weight
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Premature birth
  • Structural (cardiac defects) or functional (learning disabilities) birth defects
  • Prematur menopaus

Substances causing serious and lasting effects

It may go without notice that a reproductive toxicant has affected the body, according to the U.S. governmental Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Instead the impact of the exposure may be noticed later, during key life transitions.

The ATSDR warns that the adverse effects from the toxicant may first be noticed while trying to conceive, during pregnancy and the development of the fetus, or even in the newborn. Exposure to reproductive toxicants may even affect the offspring’s childhood, puberty, and fertility as an adult. It’s arguable that it may be of interest to all whom at some point in their life want to have children try to avoid chemicals that are toxic for reproduction, not only from cosmetics but from other sources as well.

The Swedish Chemicals (state) Agency (KEMI) urges consumers to avoid all products with direct and prolonged skin contact if they contain substances known to cause reproduction disorders. This includes not only cosmetics but also clothes,  furniture, bed sheets, toys, soft plastic, etc that have been impregnated, coloured, or simply manufactured using reprotoxic substances.

It may be difficult to find out which chemicals a product contains and in most cases you will have to ask the manufacturer to get this information. Put pressure on companies by asking these questions – and if you receive a chemical list for a non-cosmetic product you can always send it to Curious Chloride and we will be happy to help you review it.

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