According to new research, the quality of air we breathe significantly impacts the risk of infertility, with research now linking increased levels of airborne pollutants – such as respirable (breathable) dust and nitrogen dioxide – to increases as high as 20% in infertility.
A recent study in China found that of 18,000 couples, those living with a higher level of respirable dust in the air experienced a 20% greater risk of infertility (where infertility represented failure to become pregnant within one year of trying).
In a recent interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, lead researcher for the study Qin Li, from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Peking University Third hospital, stated that prospective parents should be concerned about air pollution. “Numerous studies have noted that air pollution is associated with lots of adverse pregnancy events,” he said.
Expanding on this to determine how pollution in the air affects fertility, a separate study of 632 women attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center found a small increase in PM2.5 (fine inhalable particles) was associated with significantly lower ovarian reserves – ie less eggs for future supply – and accelerated reproductive ageing.
Polluted air has also been shown to negatively affect sperm count, with a number of studies demonstrating a link between increased concentrations of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground level ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM2.5) and decreased sperm count and mobility.
Fertility treatment and air quality has also been studied. In 2018, the Human Reproduction Journal published results of a study of 6,621 IVF cycles where air quality had been tracked. It demonstrated that increased concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or carbon monoxide (CO) were linked to a significantly reduced probability of pregnancy. Specifically, higher exposure to nitrogen dioxide and PM10 were tied to 17 percent and 18 percent, respectively, higher chances of pregnancy loss.
Dr Matthew Fuller, at the University of Utah’s department of emergency medicine put it simply when his team proved that raised levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution increased the risk of losing a pregnancy by 16%; “If you compare that increase in risk to other studies on environmental effects on the foetus, it’s akin to tobacco smoke in first trimester pregnancy loss.”
All this shocking data adds up to a simple fact – the air we breathe affects our reproductive ability.
It’s not just outside air quality though, we spend 90% of our time indoors, where the air is typically 2-5 times worse, so we need to focus more on the air quality in our homes, at work and at play.
More attention must be paid to air quality overall and we must better understand its effect on our health.
Infertility affects millions of couples the world over and a great amount of research has been undertaken into the causes and effects. However, very little attention is given to the quality of the air we breathe, at home, at work and anywhere in between.
UAE based company AirZones are fighting to raise interest in and knowledge around this topic – as simple changes can have a significant impact. Their products and services are designed to help, such as home consultations, air analysis and home detox.
Given how much we focus on nutrition through pregnancy I find it crazy that we ignore the primary fuel of life, the air we breathe.
We founded AirZones to help everyone understand the importance of the air we breathe and so far it’s been an amazing journey. The whole topic of air quality and fertility was a real surprise when we started researching it in detail, as my wife and I suffered a miscarriage and at the time we had no idea that air quality, or specifically indoor air quality was a potential risk. Now we’ve met with multiple clinics, doctors and individuals and no one is talking about (and most are not even understanding) the impact of air quality on fertility or pregnancy. We’re on a real mission now to get these stats out there, so if anyone reading this would like to join forces around this topic then please get in touch; we can make a greater difference together regarding the education topic.
Improving your at home air quality could be as simple as adding an air purifier, or more plants to your home. And that seems like a small effort to keep you and your family safe and healthy. What are your thoughts homies? How do you keep your air clean at home? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.