13 September 2005
Infertility Linked To Common Pesticide
Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, writing in the journal Endocrinology, say that a common pesticide may impair the proper development and function of the female reproductive tract, leading to reduced fertility in women.
The pesticide, Methoxychlor (MXC), is used to kill flies, mosquitoes and other insects. It is also used in many products that are applied directly to food crops, livestock, home gardens and domestic pets. Methoxychlor was originally created as a safer replacement for DDT.
The researchers said it was one of a large group of chemicals, called endocrine disruptors, which can mimic the action of hormones and interfere with the correct function of the hormonal system.
The research, carried out on mice and human cell lines, found that Methoxychlor alters an estrogen-regulated gene in the reproductive tract and reduces the ability of the uterus to support embryo implantation. Previous studies have shown that Methoxychlor and chemicals like DDT can induce abnormalities in tissue development and function in the female reproductive tract.
"MXC has an adverse effect on these mice similar to that of DES, a synthetic estrogen. Female offspring of women exposed to DES were more likely to have an abnormally shaped cervix, were more prone to cancer of the vagina, miscarriages, early labor and other complications," said study author Hugh S. Taylor.