How do chemicals affect fertility?

There are so many cleaning products out there, it is difficult to make a specific statement about them. They have been around for so long now and no study has proven that they have a negative effect on pregnancy. However, before pregnancy, being exposed to chemicals can affect your fertility. In one study, high levels of disinfectants were associated with decreased fertility and time to get pregnant. If you have already been exposed to any during pregnancy, there is no reason to be concerned.

Trying to get pregnant or not, you should use common sense: If it smells strong, stay away from it! There are also other things you can do to decrease exposure:

  • Use pump sprays instead of aerosol spray cans
  • Make sure the room is well-ventilated (open the windows, the door, turn on the fan, etc.) to prevent you from breathing in the fumes
  • Wear rubber gloves and wear protective clothing. This will prevent skin exposure and protect you from absorbing any potentially toxic chemical.
  • Read the warning label (this is a good suggestion not only for cleaners!). If it says the product is really toxic, use another, less-toxic one. You often can buy more-natural and less-toxic cleaning products in many health food stores or on the web.
  • If you clean at home, have your partner do the cleaning (!)

Read labels carefully and avoid products (such as some oven cleaners) whose labels indicate they’re toxic. Products that contain ammonia or chlorine are unlikely to harm an unborn baby, though their odors may trigger nausea. Open windows and doors wear rubber gloves when using these products. Don't mix ammonia and chlorine products because the combination produces fumes that are dangerous for anyone.

Read how chemicals may affect baby gender!

Safe alternatives

While some household cleaners contain solvents, there are many safe alternatives. If you are worried about commercial cleansers or bothered by their odors you can substitute safe, natural products. For example, baking soda can be used as a powdered cleanser to scrub greasy areas, pots, and pans, sinks, tubs, and ovens. A solution of vinegar and water can effectively clean many surfaces such as countertops.

Cleaning supplies and your health

There is a ton of uncertainty about how the body reacts to cleaning supplies. Some ingredients are considered toxic and should not be used in a closed setting so open windows when you clean. Others contain ingredients that may build up in the body over time. That buildup while relatively untested in terms of reproduction could be cause for concern.

Natural solutions instead of chemicals

You can also choose to leave behind the chemical cleaning supplies for natural cleaners. With these ingredients, you can create a wealth of home cleaning supplies that contain no harsh chemicals and leave your home fresh and clean.  The most effective natural cleaners include:

  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Club Soda
  • Castile Soap
  • Lemon Juice
  • Water

Eliminating the most toxic products

If you aren’t ready to take the huge leap toward replacing all your chemicals with natural alternatives, then you can start with the worst. Toilet bowl and oven cleaners tend to be extremely toxic. Replace these with natural alternatives to start. Move on to window cleaners and eventually laundry soaps and other milder cleaners and you’ll soon be cleaning healthier and you could be improving your reproductive health in the process. 

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