In a new report released yesterday, the nation's largest groups of obstetricians and fertility specialists raised concerns about the number of environmental chemicals that Americans are exposed to on a daily basis, and how these chemicals are affecting our reproductive health.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Reproductive medicine want health care providers to spend more time talking to their patients about their chemical exposure risks and teaching them how to avoid those chemicals deemed "most worrisome."

"An overwhelming amount of evidence has accumulated in the last five to seven years that points to the fact that environmental contaminants can adversely affect reproductive health," said Dr. Linda Giudice, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Experts from the two organizations issues a joint statement yesterday calling for policy changes at the government level to protect Americans from chemicals and urging doctors to talk to their patients about the reproductive risks of chemical exposure. 

A committee from the two groups examined research about industrial chemicals and pollutants in the environment today and found that while solid safety information is lacking for most chemicals on the market, what information does exist links many chemicals to reproductive disorders such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects.

The report also cited research suggesting virtually every pregnant woman is exposed to at least 43 different chemicals and least some of the chemicals are known to reach the fetus. For example, mercury - found in certain types of seafood - can damage an unborn baby's developing brain, when eaten by the mother.  The report also noted how exposure to certain pesticides can increase the risk of childhood cancer. 

The report found that chemical exposure was greatest when it occurred in the workplace.  Poor and minority populations were also more likely to be exposed to certain pollutants based upon where they live.  Two more reasons - the report notes- that doctors should talk with pregnant women about where they live and work and how they can limit their chemical exposure.

And it's not just the women that need to be concerned. The committee found that  pesticide exposure in adult men can been linked to sterility and prostate cancer.

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