By Michael S. Bloom , Romeo Micu, Iulia Neamtiu


Modern chemical instrumentation has fostered a revolution of sorts, in which epidemiologic studies of female infertility can now devote attention to very low level, “background” exposures to “emerging” non-persistent organic pollutants, rather than on “legacy” persistent organic pollutants. Predicated on widespread and frequent contact, and substantial experimental evidence of estrogen-disruptive effects, concern for phthalate diesters, environmental phenols (bisphenol A and triclosan), and ultraviolet filters (benzophenones) as risk factors for female infertility has grown. We reviewed the contemporary epidemiologic evidence for these emerging environmental pollutants as risk factors for female infertility. We conclude that the epidemiologic evidence is insufficient to date, to substantiate background exposures as risk factors for female infertility. However, very few epidemiologic investigations have been published. To more definitively address concerns, additional epidemiologic investigations are needed, including longitudinal collection of multiple biospecimens, simultaneous consideration of couple-level exposures, and incorporating mixtures of these and additional emerging organic pollutants.