Female exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and fecundity: a review

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been known for their ability to interfere with aspects of hormone action resulting in adverse health consequences among animals and humans; however, the effects of EDCs on human fecundity have shown inconsistent findings. This review summarizes the most recent epidemiologic literature from humans on the potential effects of female exposure to nonpersistent EDCs, specifically bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, and triclosan, on fecundity, measured by markers of reproductive hormones, markers of ovulation or ovarian reserve, IVF outcomes, and time-to-pregnancy.

Recent findings

Although the epidemiologic literature on this topic is growing, the evidence supporting an association between female urinary concentrations of BPA, phthalates, parabens and triclosan, and fecundity remains unclear. The heterogeneous results could be due to methodological differences in recruitment populations (fertile vs. subfertile), study designs (prospective vs. retrospective), assessment of exposure (including differences in the number and timing of urine samples and differences in the analytical methods used to assess the urinary concentrations), residual confounding due to diet or other lifestyle factors, and coexposures to other chemicals.

Summary

At present, there is limited evidence to conclude that female exposure to nonpersistent EDCs affect fecundity in humans. Further studies focusing on exposure to mixtures of EDCs are needed.

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