Exposure to phthalates may raise risk of pregnancy loss, gestational diabetes

November 2016. Boston, MA. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has suggested that phthalates—synthetic chemicals used in scores of products ranging from vinyl flooring to food packaging to medical tubing to cosmetics—can cause reproductive harms. Now, two new studies from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have revealed that these hormone-disrupting chemicals may increase both the risk of miscarriage and risk factors for gestational diabetes.

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Soy-rich diet may offset BPA’s effects on fertility

January 2016. Boston, MA. Regularly eating soy may protect women undergoing infertility treatments from poor success rates linked with bisphenol A (BPA), according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It is the first study to show a possible interaction between soy and BPA in humans.

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Breastfeeding may expose infants to toxic chemicals

August 2016. Boston, MA. A widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and interference with immune function—perfluorinated alkylate substances, or PFASs—appears to build up in infants by 20%–30% for each month they’re breastfed, according to a new study co-authored by experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Eating fruits and vegetables with high pesticide residues linked with poor semen quality

March 2015. Boston, MA. Men who ate fruits and vegetables with higher levels of pesticide residues—such as strawberries, spinach, and peppers—had lower sperm count and a lower percentage of normal sperm than those who ate produce with lower residue levels, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Gymnasts exposed to flame retardants in foam safety equipment

July 2016. Boston, MA. Collegiate gymnasts may have been exposed to flame retardant chemicals from polyurethane foam safety equipment, such as pit cubes and landing mats, according to a small pilot study led by a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researcher. Flame retardants are associated with neurological and reproductive toxicity and cancer.

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Chemicals linked with severe respiratory disease found in common e-cigarette flavors

December 2015. Boston, MA. Diacetyl, a flavoring chemical linked to cases of severe respiratory disease, was found in more than 75% of flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids tested by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Parents’ exposure to chemicals prior to conception linked to child’s health problems

August 2015. Boston, MA. A couple’s exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, psychological stress, malnutrition, and other environmental stressors prior to conceiving a child may alter the child’s genetic structure and development, leading to increased risk of health issues later in life, according to a study led by Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Cost of hormone-disrupting chemical exposure in Europe in billions

March 2015. Boston, MA. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) is estimated to cost the European Union more than €150 billion ($209 billion) a year in health care expenses and lost earning potential, according to studies by a team of 18 international researchers, including two Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health faculty.

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Exposure to common flame retardant chemicals may increase thyroid problems in women

May 2016. Boston, MA. Women with elevated levels of common types of flame retardant chemicals in their blood may be at a higher risk for thyroid disease—and the risk may be significantly higher among post-menopausal women, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Exposure to pesticides in childhood linked to cancer

September 2015. Boston, MA. Young children who are exposed to insecticides inside their homes may be slightly more at risk for developing leukemia or lymphoma during childhood, according to a meta-analysis by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

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Pesticides found in most pollen collected from foraging bees in Massachusetts

Wikimedia Commons.

July 2015. Boston, MA. More than 70% of pollen and honey samples collected from foraging bees in Massachusetts contain at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which adult bees abandon their hives during winter, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Environmental chemicals may harm fertility

June 2014. Boston, MA. Chemicals such as phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and biphenyl A (BPA)—endocrine disruptors that can mimic the body’s natural hormones—could be contributing to fertility problems. Although it’s likely that such chemicals are involved in infertility, it’s notoriously hard to tease out the root causes of such problems in humans, according to Russ Hauser, Frederick Lee Hisaw Professor of Reproductive Physiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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