Levels of cadmium in blood decrease pregnancy probability


New research has shown that high levels of cadmium in females and high levels of lead in males delayed pregnancy in couples trying to get pregnant.

The most common source of cadmium is cigarette smoke. Smokers have twice as much cadmium floating in their blood as do nonsmokers. Cadmium is a toxic metal found in the earth’s crust. It is used in batteries, pigments, metal coatings and plastics. Exposure occurs in workplaces where cadmium is found and in the air near industrial facilities that emit cadmium.

“Our results indicate that men and women planning to have children should minimize their exposure to lead and cadmium,” said Dr. Buck Louis, PhD, director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “They can reduce cadmium exposure by avoiding cigarettes or by quitting if they are current smokers, especially if they intend to become pregnant in the future. Similarly, they can take steps to reduce their exposure to lead based paints, which may occur in older housing, including during periods of home renovation.”

Over five hundred couples were tested for metals content in their blood and asked to kept fertility diaries and share pregnancy test results. The researchers found that probability of pregnancy was decreased by 22% in women with an increased level of cadmium. For men, increasing amounts of lead contributed to a 15% decrease in pregnancy probability.

“The findings highlight the importance of assessing couples’ exposure jointly, in a single, combined measure,” Louis said. “Males matter, because couples’ chances of becoming pregnant each cycle were reduced with increasing blood lead concentrations in men.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, NIH


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