You will be surprised to know that common cleaning agents can hinder the chances of conceiving. You may have a spec less house that’s free from germs and pests… and you may be proud of it as well. But did you know that the chemicals in house hold cleaners may become the villain in your dream of a happy family?Read on to know how chemicals in many household cleaners can hurt your fertility.
Alexandra Gorman Scranton, who is the director of Women’s Voices of Earth that works on how we can eliminate toxic chemicals from our health and communities, says, “The science isn’t black and white, but there’s enough evidence out there for us to be really concerned about the effect these chemicals are having on our reproductive processes. Just because a product says ‘all-natural’ or ‘biodegradable’ doesn’t mean it’s safe.”
Here is a list of common things that we use in homes which can cause issues in our reproductive organs.
- Deodorisers or Home Fragrances
They are commonly used to bring freshness in rooms, wash rooms and clothes. Synthetic fragrances in cleaning agents such as laundry detergents and fabric conditioners contain a chemical called Phthalates. Natural fragrances disperse quickly. However the ones you find in clothes contain Phthalates that bond the smell to the clothing for a longer time. Manufactures use the chemical so that we keep smelling our clothes. Air fresheners of all varieties also contain the same chemical.
The chemicals can cause problem in semen quality, as well as disrupt menstrual cycle in women. It may also elevate the risk of miscarriages. Instead of these products, you can rely on natural odour removers such as Baking soda or fresheners that contain nature’s therapy.
- Laundry Detergents and
Not only fragrance producing chemical is found in these house hold cleaners; in fact another group of chemicals known as APEs (Alkyl Phenoxy Ethoxylates) is also a problem maker in fertility. These lesser known Surfactants break the water surface tension easily and they are common in detergents and fabric softeners.
APEs are associated with reduced testicular size and sperm count (in animal study). APEs can easily enter water system and it has also been studied that one of the members of APE family, Nonoxyl – 9 is used as a spermicide. However, we are still not sure of the magnitude of its effect on humans.
- Floor and Kitchen Cleaners and Solvents
There are several types of solvents available these days, including floor cleaners, glass cleaners, tough stain removers, grease removers, oven cleaners and lot of other varieties. They are efficient and do help with our household chores immensely. However, little do we know that these solvents contain 2- butoxyethanol or EGBE which has shown links to fertility problems in lab tests.
A solvent that can easily cut through tough stain and grease can easily damage our skin and cells and get into the body. In china, where fertility is closely regulated, researchers have found that women who are exposed more to these chemicals have shown reduction in fertility.
Yes, even the anti- bacterial soap you use may hinder your chances of conceiving. Triclosan is a chemical that is associated with endocrine disruption, can easily interrupt your hormones and mess up your reproductive system.
The chemical is easily found in most soap, including anti-bacterial, dishwashing liquids, shampoos and in rare occasions, toothpaste.
Triclosan may also be the reason for reduced sperm count; so your man is equally in danger when it comes to household cleaners.
There are several brands of soap, body washes and hair washes that are free from Triclosan. Please read the composition behind packages before you buy.
How Can We Make Safer Choices
It is very difficult to ascertain as to which chemical is harmful and which is not to our reproductive systems. Lee Davis, M.P.H., director of the Center of Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and professor of epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health says, “Reproduction is an exquisitely sensitive and complicated process. And chemicals are all tested one at a time, but we’re not exposed one at a time. We’re really limited in our capacity to understand the effect these mixtures are having on the body.”
Lack of clear labelling is also a problem in choosing safe cleaning agents. One way you can be assure is by looking up the manufacturer’s website and scanning through their Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) to find what goes in the solvents.
Additionally, Women’s Voices of Earth has links to several recipes to non-toxic household cleaners that you can easily make at home and store.