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The Link Between Toilet Paper and Infertility

Toilet paper and infertility are not usually two words that you see linked together, but a recent research study uncovered that many brands of toilet paper have PFAS chemicals in them. 

Evidence shows that exposure to increased levels of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) is associated with reduced fertility in men and women. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to avoid products with PFAS as they are in everything from toilet paper to clothing and a lot of the packaging we touch on a daily basis. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the possible impacts of PFAS on our fertility and what exactly is going on in our bodies when exposed.

PFAS and Infertility

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in products worldwide since the 1940s. They’re commonly found in nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, in stain-resistant products, product packaging, and even cosmetics. 

These chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals” as they do not break down, and they are now found all over our environment, including soil, water, and the air we breathe. 

With repeated exposure, the chemicals build up in our bodies over time, which can negatively impact fertility, among other health concerns. PFAS are known to disrupt our reproductive hormones. They are also linked to a delay in puberty onset and several common diseases, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) based on past studies. 

In addition to being linked to increased rates of certain diseases like endometriosis and PCOS, the hormonal disruption caused by PFAS has also been linked to lower testosterone and poorer semen quality in men.

How To Reduce Exposure to PFAS

It’s nearly impossible to completely rid ourselves of exposure to PFAS as they are chemicals found in many consumer products, but there are ways that you can reduce your exposure to help reduce potential risks to your fertility.

You’ve already taken the first step in reducing your exposure, and that’s by educating yourself and being knowledgeable about PFAS and the damage they can cause to our bodies. Now you can use that knowledge to do additional research on where you’re being exposed to PFAS.

Reducing your exposure can start with making some small switches in your day-to-day products and finding healthier alternatives. There are apps like Healthy Living and Think Dirty that can help you find better health and beauty alternatives that offer a great wealth of information. 

Avoiding products marketed as stain-resistant or water-resistant is another way to help reduce your exposure, as many of these products contain PFAS. You may see labels that say “PFOA-free,” but be mindful that often indicates that it is free of some but not all PFAS. Teflon and non-stick cookware are other sources of PFAS, but there are some great alternatives that offer non-toxic, non-stick cookware.

Taking steps to reduce your exposure to PFAS can help reduce the impacts that these hormone disruptors have on fertility in both men and women, while also reducing the risk for other health concerns too.

Author
Nidhee Sachdev, MD, FAOCG Dr. Nidhee Sachdev Nidhee Sachdev, MD has trained among the most prestigious and diverse medical programs in the country, including fellowship training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the prestigious New York University (NYU) Langone Fertility Center in New York City where she conducted research on preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she earned the academic distinction of chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology, and trained under a top recurrent pregnancy loss expert. Dr. Sachdev is passionate about providing individualized, collaborative patient care. She started her medical career right here in Orange County, earning her Doctor of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.

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