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According to new joint research by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment may affect men and women's reproductive health. Scientists are calling for more extensive research into the potential harm that chemical contamination may have on pregnancy and fertility.

The study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, was based on analysis of data gathered over the past five to seven years. Academics were able to detect a link between reproductive health problems and a series of toxic chemicals in numerous studies on animals and the human population. These included pesticides which have been found to reduce the quality of semen, as well as to cause menstruation and ovulation disruption in women, the Huffington Post reported. Other substances that have been linked to reproductive health issues are heavy metals and endocrine disruptors like BPA.

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In addition to looking deeper into the effect of chemical exposure, researchers are also calling for more transparency. Consumers should be provided with all the relevant information regarding the potential impact of environmental contamination on their health, claimed Dr. Jeanne Conry, president of ACOG.

Individual consumers can do little to reduce the effect of contamination. They should wash their fruits and vegetables carefully and try to avoid eating or drinking from plastic containers, but urging the public to cut down on toxic chemical exposure was not the aim of the study, she explained. Instead, the findings of the research should act as a call for awareness, Conry concluded.