7 Water Contaminants That Could Be Harming Your Fertility

If you’re planning on starting a family, that’s an excellent time to make sure that your health is as good as possible. You may want to also review certain aspects of your environment and ensure that you are not in contact with toxic substances. 

In a household supplied by well water, that should include testing the water to ensure it is clean, pure and healthy. The same thing is true for households supplied by community water as the purity of this water can vary greatly from one water system to the next. 

At the head of the list of chemicals or contaminants that you don’t want around at this time are the seven contaminants listed below. These common water contaminants deserve special mention as each one harms human fertility.

If any of these substances are present in your water supply, it would be very smart to immediately install a filtration or water treatment system to eliminate them. This process should always start with an accurate test of your water so you know what needs to be eliminated.

How Do Toxins Cause Infertility?

There are four ways toxic contaminants in water can cause infertility.

  1. Endocrine disruption
  2. Injury to the female reproductive system
  3. Injury to the male reproductive system
  4. Reduced ability of the fetus to survive

A couple trying to have a baby through in vitro fertilization is also less likely to have success when environmental toxins are present.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #1: Chlorine

Chlorine compounds are found in thousands of different agricultural, manufacturing and industrial substances. They are used to make drugs, pesticides, herbicides, solvents and plastics as well as being used as disinfectants. In women, exposure to certain chlorinated chemicals was associated with higher levels of uterine fibroids, endometriosis and miscarriages. Exposure to the chlorine disinfectant in swimming pools and hot tubs can lower testosterone levels and cause a decrease in testicular function.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #2: DDT

You may remember when dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was still being sprayed on plants to kill insects. Its use was banned in 1972 but this chemical persists in the environment. Exposure to DDT in one’s youth or levels still present in the body resulted in higher rates of abnormal sperm among men. Researchers noted that sperm production is a very hormone-dependent process and that DDT is an endocrine disruptor.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #3: Heavy Metals

Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury or arsenic can enter a water supply from naturally occurring deposits in the earth or from plumbing fixtures. Exposure to these metals harms female reproductive health by causing infertility, spontaneous abortion and endometriosis. These metals accumulate in the body, therefore they are able to cause a greater effect over time.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #4: Herbicides

Herbicides like dicamba and glyphosate are associated with difficulty getting pregnant and increased risk of miscarriage. According to one study, the herbicide dicamba resulted in a 49% decrease in fertility. Exposure to glyphosate resulted in a 39% reduction in fertility. These products are still in widespread use.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #5: Pesticides

Pesticides like organophosphates and thiocarbamates have been proven to affect male reproductive health by reducing the number and viability of sperm and causing sperm DNA damage. For women, pesticides can cause hormone disruption that results in ovarian cycle irregularities, impaired fertility, spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and birth defects. 

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #6: PCBs

PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls used in building electrical equipment such as transistors, switches, electromagnets or voltage regulators. Like DDT, PCBs are endocrine disruptors that have been banned. But plenty of PCBs exist in equipment still in use across America and the world. These chemicals also circulate in our air, water and soil. Exposure to PCBs is associated with endometriosis, fewer pregnancies and longer times till pregnancy occurs. PCBSs also damage the quality of men’s semen and can even delay puberty in males.

Fertility-Harming Contaminant #7: Trihalomethanes

Trihalomethanes (THMs) constitute a group of chemicals formed as a result of municipal water disinfection. When chlorine or chloramines are added to city water to kill bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, trihalomethanes are formed. The four main THMs are chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane. When water contains elevated amounts of THMs. reproductive harm and birth defects can occur. These effects include decreased fertility, increased sperm toxicity and reduced fetal growth and survival. Low birth weight was the outcome most consistently associated with THMs and similar disinfection byproducts. 

Removing These Contaminants From Your Water

Of course, all these contaminants have many more adverse health effects than just harming fertility. Whether a family is trying to have more kids or not, these substances need to be removed from a water supply. Fortunately, water treatment or filtration can help you rid your water of these toxins. It starts with an accurate test—to find out exactly what is in your water, order a comprehensive water test from ETR Labs today!