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Pesticide linked to infertility

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2006 - Spring


A common pesticide may interfere with the reproductive tract, leading to reduced fertility in women, according to Yale researchers.

In an article published in Endocrinology last August, the researchers reported that in studies in mice and in human tissue, methoxychlor (MXC), a substitute for the banned pesticide DDT, alters an estrogen-regulated gene in the reproductive tract and reduces the ability of the uterus to support embryo implantation. MXC, which is applied to crops, livestock, home gardens and pets, is one of several chemicals that can mimic the action of hormones and sometimes interfere with endocrine function.

“MXC has an adverse effect on these mice similar to that of DES, a synthetic estrogen,” said senior author Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., HS ’92, associate professor in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. “Female offspring of women exposed to des were more likely to have an abnormally shaped cervix and were more prone to cancer of the vagina, miscarriages, early labor and other complications.”

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