Fertility Problems Due to Secondhand Smoke

An epidemiologic analysis of more than 4,800 non-smoking women showed those who were exposed to second hand smoke six or more hours per day as children and adults faced a 68 percent greater chance of having difficulty getting pregnant and suffering one or more miscarriages. "These statistics are breathtaking and certainly points to yet another danger of second hand smoke exposure," said Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor at Rochester's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

In the study, four out of five women reported exposure to second hand smoke during their lifetime. Half of the women grew up in a home with smoking parents and nearly two-thirds of them were exposed to some second hand smoking at the time of the survey. More than 40 percent of these women had difficulty getting pregnant (infertility lasting more than a year) or suffered miscarriages, some repeatedly.

Peppone analyzed surveys collected from 4,804 women who visited Roswell Park Cancer Institute for health screenings or cancer care from 1982-1998. The 16-page survey focused on lifestyle, habits, family and personal health history, and occupational and environmental exposures. Each participant in this study reported that they had never smoked, and had been pregnant at least once or tried to become pregnant.

Participants reported whether one or both of their parents smoked and if they lived with or worked with smokers as adults. They also estimated the amount of time they were exposed to second hand smoke. Peppone acknowledges that the data is based upon self-reporting and that is not perfect. However, he said: "Women, especially mothers, have extremely accurate recall. Mothers can easily recall details like how long they breastfed, what vitamins they took during prenatal care, and childhood activities."

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Rochester Medical Center