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Study links flame retardants to reduced fertility
California women exposed to high levels of the compounds take substantially longer to get pregnant than women with low levels.
Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 8:00 AM
Wasn't it just a few days ago that a study was released that found high levels of flame retardants
, or PBDEs, in the breastmilk of younger mothers? There is more bad news on flame retardants today.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found that women exposed to high levels of flame retardants take substantially longer to get pregnant, indicating for the first time that widespread use of the chemicals may affect human fertility.
In the study, published this week in Environmental Health Perspectives
, epidemiologists studied 223 pregnant women in California’s Salinas Valley, an agricultural community with predominantly low-income, Mexican immigrants. More than 97 percent of the women had PBDEs in their blood, and those with high levels were half as likely to conceive in any given month as the women with low levels. In fact, each tenfold increase in a woman’s blood was linked to a 30 percent decrease in her odds of getting pregnant.
“This study provides the first evidence that PBDEs may impact human fertility,” wrote the authors, led by epidemiologist Kim Harley. "If confirmed, this finding would have strong implications to women trying to conceive given that exposure to PBDEs is nearly universal in the United States and many other countries."
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