Are PBDEs affecting women who are TTC?

Chances are, if you been having difficulty trying to conceive, you're familiar with the abbreviation, TTC.  It's the short cut used to describe the forums, articles, and support groups for women who are having a hard time getting pregnant.  But you may not be as familiar wth another abbreviation: PBDEs.  That's the short cut for the chemical that might be keeping you from getting pregnant in the first place.

PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are the flame retardant chemicals applied to everything from electronics to furniture in an effort to make them "safer."  California has some of the strictest standards for flame retardancy in the world, so it's no wonder that CA residents - particularly kids - are loaded with the chemical.  And now, researchers have found a link between high levels of pentaBDE, the most prevalent PBDE, in pregnant women's blood with difficulties in becoming pregnant.

California officials banned the use of pentaBDE in 2006, but of course, it's still out there.  It's in all of the products made prior to 2006 and still lingering in people's homes and offices.  In fact, many health experts believe that as the foam in older furniture breaks down, it releases PBDEs into household dust, which then makes it even easier for people to breathe or ingest.

For this study, researchers from the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research and the University of California-Berkeley interviewed pregnant women in a low-income, predominantly Mexican-immigrant community in California to determine how many months it took them to become pregnant.  They also collected blood samples to analyze them for PBDEs. Across the board, they found that the higher the rate of PBDEs that were found in a woman's blood, the longer it had taken her to become pregnant.

Of course, there are lots of factors that can affect women who are TTC.  Make sure PBDEs aren't one of them.  Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about the level of PBDEs in your home or workplace.

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