Air pollution is widely known to affect human cardiopulmonary health, but only recently has research turned to understand the association between air pollution and reproductive health and gynecologic disease incidence.
Initial studies suggest a potential relationship between air pollution and both infertility and menstrual irregularity, but more studies are needed to validate these findings in other populations, according to a report led by School of Public Health researchers.
The findings appear in the journal Current Epidemiology Reports.
“After examining the limited literature we found early and preliminary data between air pollution and both infertility and menstrual irregularity,” says corresponding author Shruthi Mahalingaiah, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine and of epidemiology at SPH. “However, given the sparse amount of research, it is imperative that these findings be further explored.”
Using an online search of medical publications, the researchers sought to identify recent studies that evaluated air pollution exposures and these gynecologic diseases: infertility, menstrual irregularity, uterine fibroids and endometriosis. They found suggestive associations between distance to roads and traffic exposures and incident infertility, fertility rates, and menstrual cycle irregularity. However, the authors wrote, the number of studies examining similar exposures and outcomes has been limited.
Women’s health and fertility outcomes are important to include in policy guidelines regarding air pollution and human health, Mahalingaiah says. “Because of the implications on human populations via reproductive health, this topic area is critically important to support with dedicated funding opportunities.”
The study was co-authored by: Kevin Lane, assistant professor of environmental health; Chanmin Kim, assistant professor of biostatistics; J. Jojo Cheng of the School of Medicine; and Jaime E. Hart of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Source : http://www.bu.edu/sph/2018/10/02/more-studies-needed-to-determine-impact-of-air-pollution-on-gynecologic-health/365