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Panoramic photo of the city of Medellín where contamination is evident

Biologists, pharmaceutical chemists and medical researchers from the CES University, in Medellín, undertook the task of 'hunting' the particulate material that is breathed in the Aburrá Valley and looking for the relationship with fertility problems, especially in the women.

The analysis carried out by the Invitro Toxicity Unit and the Faculties of Medicine and Sciences and Biotechnology is based on studies of environmental contamination, which are related to skin, respiratory and ocular problems. The work of the scientists focuses on determining the degree of toxicity of the particulate material that is in the atmosphere today and forced the declaration of a state of Prevention in the metropolitan area of Medellín, between February 18 and March 30, and to adopt special measures in mobility.

Photo person with mask preventing city pollution"The particulate material that we are collecting in different parts of the Aburrá Valley has multiple components, among which we can highlight aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals, which have already been associated with failures at the cellular level that affect the health of those who breathe them" , said Erika Herrera Puerta, professor of Biology at CES University.

A report from the University's Invitro Toxicity Unit (UTi) had also determined in 2018 that pollution has compromised biological processes such as reproduction, for example, in the case of sperm. The work showed that the contaminants managed to cross the blood-testicular barrier, that is, the wall that protects sperm cells from toxic substances that can circulate through the bloodstream. Now the investigations are focused on the ovules.

“There is evidence that air pollutants reach the ovaries and have contact with the oocytes. We are beginning to investigate what happens with the maturation of the oocytes by collecting the particulate material and exposing the cells to that material in vitro. This helps us to strengthen all the in vitro toxicity techniques and we are now in the process of obtaining the results ”, concluded the UTi research biologist.

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