You may have come across some recent coverage about a particular herbicide (or weedkiller) being linked to fertility problems – and to dozens of other medical problems too. I’m interested in the ways that environmental chemicals can affect our health, and so started reading posts about this particular study, published in the Journal Entropy – you can find it here. A number of posts raised questions about the science behind the report – but as a non-scientist it’s sometimes hard to assess what’s good science and what isn’t.
I did, however, look at the section of the report which dealt with fertility, which covered a multitude of ways in which the herbicide could possibly affect fertility, making links between chemical exposure and declining birth rates around the world – which are surely as much to do with social factors as anything else. The report concludes that it is “conceiveable” that the compound in the herbicide could be responsible for more pre-term births, that exposure to it “would be expected to ” adversely affect fertility.
The NICE fertility guideline lists some chemicals which can have a harmful effect on the human reproductive system and these include pesticides, so it would undoubtably be a good idea not to do too much spraying of your garden with any kind of chemical products when you’re trying to concevie – but this particular case does show how difficult it is to be struggling with infertility and to try to get clear factual information online; for every helpful fact, there’s another dubious one and it can be very difficult to assess what’s good, solid information and what isn’t.
The best way to be sure is to check with your fertility specialist if you are worried about things which may be damaging to your fertility – and that’s just as important when it comes to things which it’s claimed will boost your fertility too. Sometimes, common sense is just as important as science…