The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics World Congress 2018

XXII FIGO 2018, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics is the single largest global congress on maternal and infant health, bringing together obstetricians, gynecologists and related health professionals from around the world.

The #FIGO2018 XXII FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics will take place in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 14-19 October 2018.

Environmental threats to human health

FIGO Media Briefing, Environmental Health, London, 1 October, 2018

In the last 40 years, there has been a global increase in human exposure to a variety of potentially toxic chemicals in the environment.

Research shows that whether we are concerned with reproductive health, cancer, infertility, neonatal and childhood health or neurodevelopment; toxic exposures are implicated.

World leaders have acknowledged that minimising environmental threats to human health and reproduction is a necessity if we are to substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination, and therefore progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

“We are at the very beginning of a tsunami that will require local leadership: California has placed a priority on energy independence which can improve air quality and reduce birth defects, prematurity, asthma and heart disease. The European Union has limited exposure to endocrine disruptors. China instituted a host of measures in 2013, so that by 2018 there has been a reduction of air particulate matter by 32%. They declared a war on pollution and are winning!”

Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD, Co-Chair, FIGO Working Group on Reproductive and Developmental Environmental Health, USA.

91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. The lower the levels of air pollution, the better the cardiovascular and respiratory health of the population will be, both long- and short-term.

“Our first challenge is awareness: Most clinicians are not aware that environmental exposures impact health. Most of us assume that the chemicals released into the environment, that we are exposed to as we apply make-up, prepare food, or breathe air, have been studied. They have not. Clinicians need to understand that the lack of research doesn’t mean they are safe, and makes the burden of proof very difficult, because our patients are exposed repeatedly to many chemicals in many ways through many types of exposure”.

Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD, Co-Chair, FIGO Working Group on Reproductive and Developmental Environmental Health, USA

This month, October 14 – 19, over 10,000 health professionals are attending FIGO World Congress 2018 in Rio de Janiero. Environmental Health is a core theme throughout the event, with key sessions being covered include:

  • Impact of Environmental Toxics on Global Women’s Health
  • Environmental Reproductive Health and the Heath Care Provider: Evidence based approaches to providing advice
  • Research agenda to illuminate how the environment affects reproductive and developmental health
  • “Training the Trainers” to talk with their patients and the public about environmental impacts on health

“Our challenge is priorities: When we are faced with maternal mortality, cancer, and violence, it may seem we do not have the “band width” or capacity to discuss the environment. BUT we need to help clinicians understand they are equipped to discuss this subject and lead their patients in awareness, and that advocacy for change is essential”.

Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD, Co-Chair, FIGO Working Group on Reproductive and Developmental Environmental Health, USA.

Reference.

Talking Toxic Chemicals: EDCs Expert Scientists urge Prevention

A global problem that need a global solution: time to act on a global scale

Video published on 1 Dec 2015 by PRHE UCSF‘s channel

Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals among women and men of reproductive age is ubiquitous and threatens healthy human reproduction.

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) World Congress attendees learned more about the science that links exposure to toxic environmental chemicals to poor health outcomes and what physicians and health care providers can do to prevent harm

More information

FIGO Opinion on Reproductive Health Impacts of Exposure to Toxic Environmental Chemicals

FIGO champions environmental justice by pushing against endocrine disruptors and toxic chemicals

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals.

Publisher: International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, FIGO, December 2015.

Widespread exposure to toxic environmental chemicals threatens healthy human reproduction. Industrial chemicals are used and discarded in every aspect of daily life and are ubiquitous in food, water, air, and consumer products. Exposure to environmental chemicals and metals permeates all parts of life across the globe. Toxic chemicals enter the environment through food and energy production, industrial emissions and accidents, waste, transportation, and the making, use, and disposal of consumer and personal care products.

Overview

  • Introduction
  • Vulnerable people, communities, and populations
  • Nature and extent of prenatal and preconception exposure to toxic environmental chemicals
  • Health impacts of preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental chemicals
  • Global health and economic burden related to toxic environmental chemicals
  • Recommendation for prevention
  • Conclusions
Sources and more information

Reproductive Health and the Environment Symposium 2015

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) XXI 2015 World Congress

Video Overview

The video mentions the Diethylstilbestrol and Thalidomide tragedies…

  • 00:40 Introduction: Reproductive Health, OBGYNs and the Environment, Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, Past president, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Assistant Physician-in-Chief North Valley, Kaiser Permanente.
  • 08:40 From Silent Spring to Silent Night, Tyrone B. Hayes, PhD, Professor, Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 28:40 Environmental Reproductive Health in Developing Countries, Katsi Cook, Program Director for Indigenous Communities, NoVo Foundation.
  • 54:40 Global Reproductive Health and the Environment: What Does the Evidence Say? Tracey J. Woodruff, PhD, MPH, Professor and Director, University of California, San Francisco, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.
  • 01:18:10 Vision for the Future. Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO, The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
More information

Environmental Exposures and Reproductive Outcomes: A Call to Action!

UCSF Linda Guidice lectures on reproductive effects of chemical exposures

Check out the slide at 09:40 – includes a DES advert. At 19:00 Linda C. Giudice mentions the Diethylstilbestrol and Thalidomide tragedies…

Presented by Linda C. Giudice, MD, PhD, MSc, Distinguished Professor and Chair, UCSF Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences (UCSF OB/GYN & RS) and Past President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

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Risks to babies and mothers associated with everyday exposure to toxic chemicals

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals

figo image
Two European health and environment groups strongly welcome the statement released by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) addressing the risks to babies and mothers associated with everyday exposure to toxic chemicals.

Abstract

Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction. There are tens of thousands of chemicals in global commerce, and even small exposures to toxic chemicals during pregnancy can trigger adverse health consequences. Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and related health outcomes are inequitably distributed within and between countries; universally, the consequences of exposure are disproportionately borne by people with low incomes. Discrimination, other social factors, economic factors, and occupation impact risk of exposure and harm. Documented links between prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals and adverse health outcomes span the life course and include impacts on fertility and pregnancy, neurodevelopment, and cancer. The global health and economic burden related to toxic environmental chemicals is in excess of millions of deaths and billions of dollars every year. On the basis of accumulating robust evidence of exposures and adverse health impacts related to toxic environmental chemicals, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) joins other leading reproductive health professional societies in calling for timely action to prevent harm. FIGO recommends that reproductive and other health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, work to ensure a healthy food system for all, make environmental health part of health care, and champion environmental justice.

Sources and more information
  • Contaminating Our Bodies With Everyday Products, nytimes, NOV. 28, 2015.
  • International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, sciencedirect, doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.09.002, 1 October 2015.
  • Global Obstetrics and Gynaecology group warn of harm to babies from toxic chemicals in consumer products, HEAL, 1 October 2015.

Global Ob-Gyn Group Urges Greater Efforts to Prevent Toxic Chemical Exposure

International Ob-Gyn group urges greater efforts to stop exposure to toxic chemicals

FIGO-executive-board
Reproductive Health Professionals Say Links Between Prenatal Exposure to Chemicals and Poor Health Outcomes Are Increasingly Evident . FIGO Executive Board, Melbourne, May 2015 image.

Dramatic increases in exposure to toxic chemicals in the last four decades are threatening human reproduction and health, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the first global reproductive health organization to take a stand on human exposure to toxic chemicals.

The opinion was written by obstetrician-gynecologists and scientists from the major global, US, UK and Canadian reproductive health professional societies, the World Health Organization and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

FIGO, which represents obstetricians from 125 countries and territories, published the opinion in theInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics on Oct. 1, just prior to its Oct. 4 to 9 world congress in Vancouver, BC, where more than 7,000 clinicians and scientists will explore global trends in women’s health issues.

We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals, and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern,” said Gian Carlo Di Renzo, MD, PhD, Honorary Secretary of FIGO and lead author of the FIGO opinion. According to Di Renzo, reproductive health professionals “witness first-hand the increasing numbers of health problems facing their patients, and preventing exposure to toxic chemicals can reduce this burden on women, children and families around the world.

Miscarriage and still birth, impaired fetal growth, congenital malformations, impaired or reduced neurodevelopment and cognitive function, and an increase in cancer, attention problems, ADHD behaviors and hyperactivity are among the list of poor health outcomes linked to chemicals such as pesticides, air pollutants, plastics, solvents and more, according to the FIGO opinion.

What FIGO is saying is that physicians need to do more than simply advise patients about the health risks of chemical exposure,” said Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, a co-author of the FIGO opinion and past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which issued an opinion on chemicals and reproductive health in 2013. “We need to advocate for policies that will protect our patients and communities from the dangers of involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals.”

Chemical manufacturing is expected to grow fastest in developing countries in the next five years, according to FIGO. In the U.S. alone, more than 30,000 pounds of chemicals per person are manufactured or imported, and yet the vast majority of these chemicals have not been tested. Chemicals travel the globe via international trade agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. Environmental and health groups have criticized the proposed agreement for weakening controls and regulations designed to protect communities from toxic chemicals.

Exposure to chemicals in the air, food and water supplies disproportionately affect poor people,” said Linda Giudice, MD, PhD, MSc, a FIGO opinion co-author, past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and chair of the UCSF department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. “In developing countries, lower respiratory infections are more than twice as likely to be caused by chemical exposures than in developed countries.”

Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals is linked to millions of deaths and costs billions of dollars every year, according to the FIGO opinion, which cites the following examples:

  • Nearly 4 million people die each year because of exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution as well as to lead.
  • Pesticide poisonings of farmworkers in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to cost $66 billion between 2005-2020.
  • Health care and other costs from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in Europe are estimated to be at a minimum of 157 billion Euros a year.
  • The cost of childhood diseases related to environmental toxins and pollutants in air, food, water, soil and in homes and neighborhoods was calculated to be $76.6 billion in 2008 in the United States.

Given accumulating evidence of adverse health impacts related to toxic chemicals, including the potential for inter-generational harm, FIGO has wisely proposed a series of recommendations that health professionals can adopt to reduce the burden of unsafe chemicals on patients and communities,” said FIGO President Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, MBBS, who is also past president of the British Medical Association.

FIGO proposes that physicians, midwives, and other reproductive health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals; work to ensure a healthy food system for all; make environmental health part of health care; and champion environmental justice.

The FIGO opinion was authored by representatives from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, and the World Health Organization. These and numerous other reproductive health organizations have either endorsed or formally supported FIGO’s opinion.

The FIGO opinion has also been applauded by health and advocacy groups, including the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Healthcare Without Harm, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is a non-profit organization that brings together obstetrical and gynecological associations from 125 countries/territories worldwide. It is dedicated to the improvement of women’s health and rights and to the reduction of disparities in healthcare available to women and newborns, as well as to advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynecology. Based in London, the organization hosts a triennial World Congress that draws more than 7,000 women’s health scientists, clinicians, and other allied health professionals to present the latest science and best clinical practice in obstetrics and gynecology. This year’s XXI World Congress will be held in Vancouver.

Sources and more information
  • Global Ob-Gyn Group Urges Greater Efforts to Prevent Toxic Chemical Exposure, figo press release, 01.10.2015.
  • International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, figo opinion papers, 01.10.2015.