In the last decade, research has associated air pollution with adverse pregnancy outcomes, especially decreased fetal growth and prematurity.
Currently, environmental air pollution represents an important public health problem from the point of view of individual and collective health. But what is known and what is its impact on sexual and reproductive health?
It is known that a healthy adult inhales 10-20 m3 of air per day, depending on body constitution and physical activity. In a pregnant woman, adaptation to pregnancy results in significantly increased volume and increased oxygen consumption.
In the last decade, research has associated air pollution with adverse pregnancy outcomes, especially decreased fetal growth and prematurity. Pregnancy can be a particularly sensitive state to toxins contained in air pollution due to the high level of cell proliferation, organ development, and the changing metabolic capabilities of the fetus. Hence air pollution exposure is presumed to affect the fetus directly through transplacental exposure or indirectly by affecting physiological changes in the mother. However, the findings of epidemiological studies on pregnancy and air pollution are still inconsistent.
Regarding fertility, there have been several reports indicating that the quality and quantity of human sperm is facing serious decline. Several environmental factors would be attributable to this potential decrease in male fertility. These include heavy metals and various chemical agents widely used in agriculture and industry.
In addition, other physical factors, such as global temperature rise and radiation exposure, as well as biological factors, such as phyto and xenoestrogen contamination in the environment, could negatively affect spermatogenesis. These effects could cause not only a reduction in sperm concentration, but also alterations in sexual behavior and the presence of genital cancers.
Environmental toxins such as nitrogen oxides and chlorofluorocarbons have been recognized as endocrine disruptors and have serious adverse effects on sexual dysfunction and pubertal development. Despite the importance of the impact of these compounds, their impact on human reproductive health is not yet sufficiently known or understood.
Effects of air pollution on reproductive health are still unknown. Therefore, it is important that appropriate policies are adopted on a global scale to reduce air pollution emissions and increase people’s awareness of the impact they may have on pregnancy and human fertility, which is what their association is most known for today. .