Scientists have been learning more about environmental hazards and chemicals that can affect fertility, and now they’ve added another potential threat to the list: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as a flame retardant. A recent study of 223 pregnant women, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that those women who had the highest concentration of the chemicals in their blood took longer to become pregnant.

PBDEs are surprisingly common, used in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets, and plastics. Because of safety concerns, most manufacturers have been phasing out their use, but they are still readily found in products made before 2004. PBDEs are also present in some foods, particularly dairy products and higher-fat meat and fish. An earlier study found detectable levels of PBDEs in the blood of 97 percent of Americans.

For more information on environmental hazards and fertility, download the free brochure, “Toxic Matters,” by the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco, at prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe/tmlinks.html.

Written by Conceive Editors
Tuesday, 22 June 2010

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