A new study points a finger at perfluorinated chemicals as a cause of reduced fertility in women.
These chemicals are widely used in consumer products, persist in the environment, and are detectable in humans and animals worldwide, the researchers observe in their report in the journal Human Reproduction.
Dr Chunyuan Fei of the University of California in the US, and colleagues studied Danish data on 1 240 pregnant women in whom levels of the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS had been measured. The time taken to become pregnant reported by the women ranged from less than a month to more than a year.
Higher levels of the chemicals were associated with longer times to pregnancy. Compared to women with the lowest PFOS/PFOA levels, the chances of becoming pregnant were reduced by 26% to 33% for those with higher exposure.
"This study presents the first human data on the association between PFOA/PFOS and subfecundity, but the results are preliminary," Fei told Reuters Health.
"If our results are not chance findings," Fei added, "they have public health relevance for the PFOA and PFOS exposure levels seen in the general population, and they may be one of the new determinants of subfecundity." - (Reuters Health)
SOURCE: Human Reproduction, online January 28, 2009.
Chemicals (PFCs) affect fertility