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Environmental Toxins and Human Reproductive Hazards Romulo S. de Villa, MD, PhD, Cert. Biochem. Molecular & Nutritional Oncologist Professor of Biochemistry.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Toxins and Human Reproductive Hazards Romulo S. de Villa, MD, PhD, Cert. Biochem. Molecular & Nutritional Oncologist Professor of Biochemistry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Toxins and Human Reproductive Hazards Romulo S. de Villa, MD, PhD, Cert. Biochem. Molecular & Nutritional Oncologist Professor of Biochemistry & Nutrition Molecular Biology & Biotechnology Consultant This material may not be reproduced in any form without expressed written permission of Dr. de Villa.

2 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1946‘50‘60‘70‘80 ‘90 Philippine Health Statistics, 1996 (Department of Health) Communicable Disease Diseases of the Heart and Malignant Neoplasms Rate per 100,000 Population, Philippines, 1946-1996 MORTALITY TREND Communicable Disease Diseases of the Heart Malignant Neoplasms

3 Reason for Increasing Mortality from Non-communicable Disease Agricultural Revolution Pollution of air, land and water Industrial Revolution Pollution of air, land and water Production of organochlorine toxins Mining Operations Pollution of air, land and water Heavy metal contamination This material may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission of Dr. de Villa.

4 Reproductive Health Hazards Physical Agents Heat Vibration Noise Radiation Maternal Trauma Infections Metabolic Imbalance Drugs Chemicals.......... Workplace Reproductive Health Hazards, By: John T. Jankovic


6 ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS Chemicals and xenobiotics which can interfere with the body’s own hormones even in doses which are parts per trillion resulting in adverse effects to health, intelligence and behavior

7 Mechanism of Endocrine Disruptors 1. Alter the synthesis and breakdown of natural hormones. 2. Mimic the sex steroid hormones (estrogen and androgen) and bind to their natural receptors either as agonists or antagonists. 3. Modify the production and functioning of hormone receptors.

8 Endocrine Disruptors in the Home Household Products Breakdown products of detergents and surfactants Nonylphenol, Octylphenol Pesticides DDT, endosulfan, atrazine, nitrofen, and tributyltin Plastics Bisphenol A, Pthalates

9 Endocrine Disruptors in the Home Industrial chemicals polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and benzo(a)pyrene) By products of incineration, paper production, and fuel combustion Metals cadmium, lead, mercury

10 Adverse Effects of Endocrine Disruptors Decrease sperm count Testicular cancer Hypospadias and cryptorchidism Breast cancer Deficits in intelligence and learning Musculinization of female fetus Feminization of male fetus

11 PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS (POPS) Carbon based synthetic chemicals which share four characteristics: 1. High toxicity 2. Persistence 3. Special affinity for fat 4. Propensity to evaporate and spread all over the world

12 12 Priority POPs 1. DDT 2. Aldrin 3. Dieldrin 4. Chlordane 5. Endrin 6. Heptachlor 7. Hexachlorobenzene 8. Mirex 9. Toxaphene 10. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 11. Dioxin 12. Furans

13 12 Priority POPs DDT For vector control Banned in the Philippines since 1992 Aldrin, Dieldrin and Endrin Insecticide and termicide Banned in the Philippines Chlordane Insecticide and termicide Restricted use as pesticide

14 12 Priority POPs Heptachlor Insecticide and soil termicide Banned in the Philippines Hexachlorobenzene Fungicide used in fireworks, ammunition and synthetic rubber Banned in the Philippines Mirex Insecticide and fire retardant Never registered in the Philippines

15 12 Priority POPs Toxaphene Insecticide in crops Control of ticks and mites in livestock Banned in the Philippines Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Heat exchange fluids in electric transformers, paints additives, used in carbonless papers and in plastics Stockpiles are still in the Philippines

16 12 Priority POPs Dioxins Byproducts of production of pesticides and other chlorinated solvents Furans



19 PCBs are found in the following: pesticides, surface coatings, inks, adhesives, paint retardants paints transformers capacitors air drinking water food (beef and pork meat, poultry and fish)

20 How PCBs Influence the Mother, Fetus & Baby PCBs are: Rapidly absorbed thru the intestinal tract from contaminated food and accumulate in the liver Distributed all over the body Excreted in breastmilk Cross the placenta Found in amniotic fluid and fetal tissue Increase risk of cancers of digestive sytem, liver and melanoma


22 Dioxins Heterogenous mixture of chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran congeners Main sources are industrial and municipal incineration processes and contaminate the food chain Animal models show antiestrogenic effect- decreased age of onset of puberty, PCOS, shortened lactation

23 Dioxins Evidence suggest effect on male reproductive health as well- cryptorchidism, hypospadias, testicular cancer (?), sperm quality (?) Lack of data Spontaneous abortion (?) Fetal growth restriction (?)


25 Pesticides Organophosphates Carbamates Pyrethroids Rodenticides Herbicides Insecticides

26 Pesticides Insecticides Chlorinated hydrocarbons – DDT – Benzene hexachlorides (Lindane) – Cyclodienes (Aldrin) – Toxaphenes (Camphechlor) Organophosphates – Malathion – Parathion – Methylparathion – trichlorfon

27 Pesticides Found in commercially available food products Almost universal exposure to low concentrations


29 2-butoxyethanol/ Ethylene glycol butyl ether One of many glycol ethers used as a solvent in carpet cleaners and specialty cleaners Can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause blood disorders, as well as liver and kidney damage. May also cause reproductive damage with long-term exposure.

30 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) Found in space deodorizing products, such as room fresheners, urinal cakes, toilet bowl fresheners and cleaning products it is also used as an insecticide for moth control. Has been linked to a reduction in pulmonary function.

31 AlkylPhenol Ethoxylates (APEs) Endocrine Disruptors Surfactants lower the surface tension of liquids and help cleaning solutions spread more easily over the surface to be cleaned and penetrate solids. Found in detergents, disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners and laundry cleansers, self-care items including spermicides, sanitary towels and disposable diapers.

32 Ethoxylated nonyl phenols (NPEs) Nonyl Phenols are known as “gender- benders,” can induce female characteristics in male fish, The threat posed to the environment by nonyl phenols prompted the European Union to ban them from all cleaning products manufactured or used in the EU. Still used in the U.S.

33 Toluene Potent reproductive toxin Used as a solvent in numerous products, including paints. Sold also as the pure product and is listed by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a reproductive toxin that may cause harm to the developing fetus. Pregnant women should avoid products containing toluene.

34 Xylene Often found in graffiti and scuff removers, spray paints and some adhesives. A suspected reproductive toxin that has shown reproductive harm in laboratory experiments, Also a neurotoxicant can cause memory loss on repeated exposure.

35 Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite) When bleach is mixed with acids (typically found in toilet bowl cleaners), it reacts with them to form chlorine gas. When it is mixed with ammonia, it can create chloramine gas, another toxic substance. In the environment, sodium hypochlorite is acutely toxic to fish. The chlorine in bleach can also bind with organic material in the marine environment to form organochlorines, toxic compounds that can persist in the environment.

36 Phosphates Most of the dishwashing products available from major manufacturers contain 30-40 per cent phosphates. Some also contain high levels of chlorine-based sanitizing ingredients.

37 Styrene Styrene is most commonly used in the manufacture of numerous plastics including plastic food wrap, insulated cups, carpet backing and PVC piping. Styrene is also found in floor waxes and metal polishes Styrene is a known carcinogen as well as an endocrine disruptor. Exposure may affect the central nervous system, liver and reproductive system.

38 Phthalates Commonly used in the manufacture of plastics, used as carriers for perfumes and air fresheners and as skin penetration enhancers for products such as moisturizers. These chemicals are classified as inert and as such no product-labeling requirements exist for phthalates. They are endocrine disruptors and suspected carcinogens, known to cause hormonal abnormalities, thyroid disorders, birth defects and reproductive problems.

39 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Emitted as gases suspending themselves in the air. may have short- and long-term adverse health effects Commonly include propane, butane, ethanol, phthalates and/or formaldehyde Pose a variety of human health hazards reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, liver toxins and carcinogens. Present in perfumes, air fresheners, disinfectants and deodorizers

40 Lead Lead affects all organs of the body CVS - hypertension Renal damage Hepatotoxicity Hematologic depression Pregnancy - low birth weight, premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth

41 Environmental tobacco smoke Second-hand Smoke or Exhaled Smoke Smoke released from the smoldering end of cigarettes, cigars and pipes Composed of >3,800 different chemical compounds Contains nicotine, a known neuroteratogen in experimental animals and by itself produces many effects of total tobacco smoke.

42 Environmental tobacco smoke Clinical Effects: Babies: Low birthweight or Small for gestational babies, Sudden infant death syndrome Spontaneous abortions, Perinatal deaths, Children: Increased learning disorders, Behavioral and attention deficit disorders Lower respiratory tract infection, Middle ear effusion, Asthma, Cancer

43 Environmental tobacco smoke leading cause of environmentally induced morbidity and developmental diseases in children

44 Reproductive Health Effects Delay or prevention of pregnancy (infertility) Termination of pregnancy (abortion) Decreased physical or mental health of the baby (mental retardation) Malformations (congenital anomalies) Cancer in children Workplace Reproductive Health Hazards, By: John T. Jankovic

45 Who’s Affected Both males and females The baby is from sperm of the male and egg of the female Male and female hormones influencing fertility can both be affected Male can bring home chemical hazard Genetic changes in male and female can be passed on later to the baby Workplace Reproductive Health Hazards, By: John T. Jankovic

46 Chemicals Hazardous to Reproductive Health With established limits to exposure Lead, Dibrochloropropane, Ethylene oxide, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Clearly linked to reproductive effects Mercury, Glycol ethers, some pharmaceuticals Workplace Reproductive Health Hazards, By: John T. Jankovic

47 Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances List of 145, 000 chemicals (April 1999) 6,000 reproductive effectors 1,000 have human data General industrial and domestic chemicals, heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, disinfectants, gases and pharmaceuticals. Workplace Reproductive Health Hazards, By: John T. Jankovic


49 PhotoChemical Smog

50 Air Pollution in the Philippines

51 Land Pollution

52 Guess What’s Coming Home to Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


54 Use Plain Soap and Water for Cleaning Use flowers and their essential oils for aroma Have charcoal canisters at the corners of the home.

55 Traffic Light of Nutrition PROCESSING Frying (lipid peroxides)Frying Baking (acrylamides)Baking Broiling (benzopyrene)Broiling Microwaving (plastic)Microwaving Steaming Boiling Raw Cook in coconut milk Cook in curry FOOD Pork & pork products Crabs, shell, shrimps Beef Chicken Fish (sea, scales, small)Fish Full cream powdered milkFull cream powdered milk Soft boiled eggs Fruits & Vegetables Whole Grain/Cereals Beans, nuts, legumes High 5 Diet end

56 Diet Prescription for your Soul Take 2 cups full of patience 1 heartful of love 2 handfuls of generosity 1 dash of laughter sprinkle with kindness mix well with prayer and serve everyone you meet

57 It has been a pleasure serving you all !

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