A large number of environmental factors are associated with impaired fertility in both women and men. In particular, persistent organic pollutants (POP) are resistant to degradation in the environment through chemical, biological or photolytic processes. Many of them were used in the past and a lot of them are still in use presently: insecticides, detergents, phenols, esther phthalates, pesticides, solvents, and other industrial chemicals like polyfluorinated compounds, bisphenol A (BPA), lead.
POPs, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), used in the manufacturing of electrical equipment before 1979, but as a result we have contaminated soil and water till this time. Other POPs like dioxins and furans(by-products of incomplete combustion, including forest fires, volcanoes eruptions, engines exhausts, cigarette smoke, various industrial processes like metal smelting, bleaching during paper manufacturing, pesticide and herbicide production – they all accumulate in fat tissue of animals and then are present in food. POPs cause developmental problems, immunosuppression, tumors, they also mimic estrogens and cause endometriosis in animal models. Endometriosis is also associated with other substances leading to hormonal disorders. For example, women who were regularly fed with soy milk (baby formula) as infants are at increased risk of endometriosis.