January 29, 2009
Household chemicals linked to infertility
Chemicals used in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery and carpets may be associated with infertility in women, U.S. researchers said.
The study, published in Human Reproduction, found that women who had higher levels of perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels.
First author Dr. Chunyuan Fei of the University of California, Los Angeles, said that blood samples were taken at the time of the women's first antenatal visit -- between four and 14 weeks into the pregnancy -- so that concentrations of perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate could be measured.
The researchers also interviewed the women at around the 12th week of pregnancy to find out whether the pregnancy was planned or not and how long it took them to become pregnant.
Infertility was defined as a time to pregnancy of longer than 12 months or infertility treatment to establish the current pregnancy.
The researchers found compared with women with the lowest levels of exposure, the likelihood of infertility increased by 70 percent to 134 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of perfluorooctane sulfonat exposure and by 60 percent to 154 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of perfluorooctanoat exposure.