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Lansing, Michigan

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Devon Glass
Devon Glass
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Decreasing Reproductive Health Linked To Increased Chemical Exposure

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Every day we wake up, go about our routine in our home, travel to work or on errands, eat food that we generally buy from a grocery store and think nothing of the dangers all of these activities may pose to our health. Everywhere we go, we are exposed to chemicals in our environment as part of living in an industrial society. However, it is possible that this long term exposure may be doing more damage to our bodies than we realize. New studies and research are beginning to suggest that this long term, constant, low-level exposure is affecting our reproductive health. Both men and women are beginning to experience these problems which range from miscarriages in women to low sperm count in men.

We have heard over the past few years that there are hidden dangers in the products we use. It was quite recently that BPA, found in many hard plastic products such as baby bottles, was affirmatively linked to health problems which included reproductive problems. These problems arise because the chemical BPA mimics estrogen in the body and so exposure to it can affect reproduction and reproductive health. The fact that BPA existed in many hard plastic products was not surprising to many consumers but it may be more concerning to know that BPA is also found in products such as the sealants dentists use in our mouths to seal weakened enamel. These sealants are used on children as well as adults and may be more of a risk than we originally realized.

There are other chemicals, though, which are all around us that have been linked to health problems. Phthalates are another brand of chemical often found in our environment and again, in products which wind up quite frequently in the hands of children. This chemical component family is also used in the manufacture of plastics but is used to soften the plastics which are frequently used in making toys for children. This chemical is also used in fragrances which are frequently found in perfumes and in baby powder and shampoo.

What the research is showing us is that the long-term exposure to these chemicals is having far greater impacts than we imagined. They are being blamed for infertility and lower fertility among adults. It can be assumed that as more of these chemicals are in the products our children are using today, the adults of tomorrow will find their reproductive health in peril because of it. What can we do? We can, as consumers, boycott products which we know have these dangerous chemicals in them. For example, we can buy hygiene products that are “fragrance free” and not use some of the hard plastics in which we know BPA lurks. We can use glass baby bottles instead of the hard plastic ones, for instance.

However, to really make an impact, we as consumers and as potential victims of these long-term health problems need to make sure those in the regulatory and government roles are made aware. We can do this by not only bringing it to their attention that it is important to us but also by ensuring that companies who willingly put consumers at risk are made to pay. If you or a loved one believe your health has been impacted by exposure to such chemicals, you should not have to suffer while the company who made the product is permitted to continue such a practice. Arm yourself with knowledge and stay aware and alert about health developments and legal developments, including any class litigation that may arise concerning specific products. We should not have to live in fear of the everyday products around us upon which we have come to rely.