A lot of women in China are getting infertile, no thanks to the government's one-child policy but to the air pollution which has gripped and seriously affected the health of thousands in the country, according to statistics gathered by researchers.
Zhang Jun, a mainland scientist, said infertility rates among Chinese women have risen fourfold over the past three decades, 3 per cent in 1990 to a staggering 12.5 per cent in 2010. A total of 40 million women nationwide have been diagnosed as infertile.
The discovery, Dr Zhang said, has prompted China's Ministry of Science and Technology to spearhead a study to verify the linkage of air pollution to the growing infertility rates and its causes, a first for the country.
The study will be undertaken in 2014 and will last five years. They will take in women's blood and urine, studying the levels of at least 20 kinds of hormone-disrupting chemicals in them.
"We can't check every kind of environmental endocrine disruptor so we chose to focus on the chemicals which are used widely in our everyday life, such as pesticides, bisphenol A, plasticisers and some new material used in clothes," Dr Zhang told the South China Morning Post.
"New chemicals appear in our lives every day, and the problem is that we don't know if these new chemicals will pose risks to our health," he said.
"So our study will be significant in providing evidence to prove if these chemicals are harmful. And based on that we can make our policies to prevent any hazards from such environmental pollution."
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