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Protecting men’s health from toxic chemicals

Father’s day is right around the corner and a great time to talk about issues related to men’s health and toxic chemicals. A lot of our members are women, moms, moms-to-be, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that toxic chemicals are compromising men’s health too.

Men and boys are at risk to exposures from toxic chemicals—particularly for conditions related to sexual and reproductive health and fertility.

Whether you are a dad or not, this information is for you.

Weak laws result in routine exposure to toxic chemicals

Many of us assume that the products we buy every day are already safe. After all, how could it be legal to put toxic and untested chemicals into a sofa cushion or your wrinkle-free shirt? Unfortunately, the law that regulates today’s chemicals is more than 37 years old, and does not protect our families from the dangers of chemical exposure. Reform is needed to ensure that chemicals are proven to be safe before they end up in our homes, schools, and workplaces.

Toxic chemicals affect men’s reproductive health

Mounting scientific evidence demonstrates that exposure to chemicals in every day products can reduce semen quality and lead to low sperm counts, male infertility, hormonal changes, testicular and prostate cancer, and miscarriage in your partner.

Like Father (and Mother), Like Son

Extensive animal studies and, in some cases, human studies show that exposure during development can lead to malformations of the reproductive tract and altered prostate development, breast development, testis size, and puberty onset. The effect of toxic chemical exposures in parents on the developing brain of their child is a burgeoning research question in autism and learning disabilities studies. In one study, exposure to a chemical (DES) during pregnancy was associated with genital malformation in the grandsons of women exposed.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family: 6 Tips

  1. Skip the cologne/men’s body spray:
    There are thousands of products geared to men encouraging them to smell “good.” Skip the cologne, scented body wash, sprays etc. Avoid shampoos and soaps with “fragrance” in the ingredient list—they often contain phthalates, a group of toxic chemicals. Higher levels of some phthalates have been associated with poor sperm quality in men.
  2. Get tough on dust.
    Vacuum and dust frequently—toxic flame retardants and other chemical contaminants can be at high levels in household dust. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and microfiber cloths to dust.
  3. Avoid PVC plastic/building materials.
    PVC, also known as the “poison plastic” is commonly used in building materials and vinyl products. Phthalates are used to soften the plastic and have a host of harmful effects on men’s health, read more here.
  4. Skip “wrinkle-free” products:
    Formaldehyde is commonly used to make “wrinkle-free” dress shirts stay smooth, and bed linens. Cancer-causing formaldehyde is also found in a variety of building materials, read more here.
  5. Take off your shoes when coming home & filter your drinking water:
    These seemingly simple steps help reduce your exposure to heavy metals and pesticides, some of which have been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Water filters remove common contaminants like arsenic and lead from your drinking water by filtering with a faucet unit. Look for NSF certification on the label—not all filters remove all chemicals.
  6. Ask retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals.
    Without a strong federal system ensuring chemicals are safe, we’ll have to continue to worry about men’s health and toxic chemicals. Ask the nation’s top ten retailers to get tough on toxic chemicals today!

This Father’s Day, tell retailers to protect dads and their kids
by getting tough on toxic chemicals—Take Action Here!