Fetal–Maternal Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors: Correlation with Diet Intake and Pregnancy Outcomes

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous substances able to mimic or to interfere with the endocrine system, thus altering key biological processes such as organ development, reproduction, immunity, metabolism and behavior. High concentrations of EDCs are found in several everyday products including plastic bottles and food containers and they could be easily absorbed by dietary intake. Scientists find that EDCs could cause and/or contribute to the onset of severe gestational conditions as Preeclampsia (PE), Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR) and gestational diabetes in pregnancy, as well as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular complications in reproductive age. Scientists recommend actions aimed at reducing or eliminating EDC exposure during the perinatal period are mandatory to guarantee pregnancy success and preserve fetal and adult health.

Scientists assessed associations between PFAS exposure and fertility outcomes in a cohort of women residing in Singapore. Study findings show that higher PFAS exposures are associated with decreased fertility in women. PFDA followed by PFOS, PFOA, and PFHpA were the biggest contributors to the PFAS mixture associations.

A critical look at the entire plastics cycle is also of crucial importance from a feminist perspective, because the plastic problem cannot simply be reduced to consumer use patterns or to harmful microplastics in cosmetic products. On the contrary, every stage of the plastics cycle reflects different gender-specific experiences and exposures.

From petrochemicals and microplastics to waste export and management, the plastics lifecycle has different and gender-specific consequences. The only way to develop just and sustainable solutions to the destruction of the environment is to start by recognizing the extent to which discriminatory structures and gender inequality contribute to the plastic problem, and conversely, the degree to which the plastic crisis exacerbates gender power discrepancies.