Environmental Pollutants and Women’s Health

Environmental Pollutants and Women's Health | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenAlready, we know there are a number of gynecological health and disorders affecting women. That’s anything from urinary incontinence, bacterial vaginosis, pelvic floor disorders, menstrual irregularities, vulvodynia, to uterine fibroids, as well as reproductive, sexual health, or overall issues. With that in mind, there’s much to be said about the impact of environmental pollutants on women, potentially resulting in reproductive dysfunction and immunologic and/or neurologic impairment.

UV radiation, water contamination, air pollution lead, mercury, pesticides, and environmental hormones are just the names of some of the things uniquely impacting the physical, mental, and social well-being of women young and old.

For instance, pregnant women and postmenopausal women are more at risk when it comes to lead exposure –it can harm a developing fetus and older women are likelier to lose bone mass, particularly if they were exposed to higher levels earlier in their lives. Some common environmental hormones have been banned in the U.S. because they’ve lead to reproductive problems and vaginal and cervical cancer. Cadmium, pesticides, solvents, lead, mercury, arsenic, and household chemicals can instigate miscarriage, preterm birth, and harm to the developing bodies of fetuses and infants.

In terms of air pollution, alone, we know that there are deep consequences. Researchers only began investigating the unique ways women respond to toxic exposure two decades ago, as well as its long-term impact on the female body. The Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research insisted that aggressive research needed to be conducted in order to identify the impact of chemical exposure, providing insight on external and internal influences among men and women. Two years ago, Mohammad Ali Baghapour published content within the Women’s Health Bulletin, which offered some clarification on the subject.

According to Baghapour’s findings, it’s documented that there’s a statistical association between exposures to air pollutants and the development of disease and illness among women, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, reproductive dysfunction, and so much more. Even when there’s low level of exposure over time, effects have been seen. There’s a correlation between outdoor air pollution and lung cancer mortality. Research presented also established that both short-term and long-term exposure of pregnant women to low levels of common air pollutants during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of babies being born small. Additionally, some epidemiological studies suggested that the postmenopausal women are more susceptible to fine airborne particles. In a study published by Environmental Research in 2015, a UNT Health Science Center professor and colleagues correlated air pollution to type 2 diabetes and potential adverse birth outcomes in pregnant women.

If you’d like to know more about the environment and its impact on women, there are agencies you can contact:

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