Air pollution may affect female reproductive health | Daily News

Air pollution may affect female reproductive health

Air pollution has been linked to a drop in activity of a woman’s ovaries, researchers have revealed.

Experts say the findings suggest the female reproductive system is affected by environmental factors, although the study does not look specifically at the impact of air pollution on fertility.

However, they added that if such an effect were permanent, it might mean that women might have a shorter period of their life in which to reproduce and an earlier menopause.

“Environmental aspects of our lives matter so we should take care about indoor environments as well as external,” said the study’s lead researcher, Antonio La Marca, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, in Italy.

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, are based on a study of levels of a hormone called AMH. This is released by cells in the ovaries and gives an indication of a woman’s ovarian reserve – the number of viable eggs the ovaries can produce. This level differs between women and is affected by a number of factors, including genetics, age and smoking. Its link to fertility is debatable: a low ovarian reserve does not necessarily mean natural conception will be difficult.

However, La Marca said previous studies had suggested there could be a link between higher air pollution and reduced fertility in women, and animal models have inferred air pollution could affect levels of AMH.

To explore the issue further, La Marca and colleagues looked at AMH levels in about 1,300 women, the samples being collected in Modena between early 2007 and autumn 2017. From the participants’ home addresses, the team estimated daily levels of small particulates known as PM2.5s and PM10s, as well as levels of nitrogen dioxide.

For women over the age of 25, levels of AMH in the blood fell with age. After taking age into account, though, the team found AMH levels were lower among women who lived in areas with higher levels of air pollutants.

theguardian


 

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