A recent study conducted in Italy concluded that women with high levels of dioxin in their blood take much longer to become pregnant than women who do not. Dioxins are chemicals that are produced during burning processes that are most often associated with industrial activities. The released chemicals contaminate the soil, air and water. The surrounding wildlife, vegetation and human population are exposed to these chemicals as a result.
Research has shown that dioxin exposure can lead to a number of health issues associated with the reproductive system including diminished reproductive hormone levels, early embryonic development, long menstrual cycles amongst women exposed before puberty and decreased sperm quality amongst men. Thus, dioxin exposure can lead to fertility problems.
The study revealed that it could take women exposed to high levels of dioxin 25% longer to conceive. Once pregnant, not only can dioxin can be detected in blood, but a major risk for pregnant women exposed to dioxin and their unborn fetuses is that these chemicals can infiltrate the placenta and be passed on to unborn fetuses during pregnancy. What’s more, dioxin can be passed on to babies after birth through breast milk.
Apart from backyard burning, here are some examples of dioxin atmospheric releases in Canada through industrial processes: