Flame-Retardant Chemicals Affect Pregnancy

Flame-Retardant Chemicals Affect PregnancyScientists at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that flame-retardant chemicals in goods such as lounge suites, electronics, fabrics, carpets, and plastics, lead to delays in conception.

The chemicals, called PBDEs, leech out through dust on surfaces. These hazardous substances can be inhaled and then stored in human fat cells. Also, the study claims that women are half as likely to conceive if they have high levels of PBDE in their blood.

Lead researcher Kim Harley said, "There have been numerous animal studies that have found a range of health effects from exposure to PBDEs, but very little research has been done in humans. This is the first study to address impact on human fertility and results are surprisingly strong".

The study reveals that women possessing higher blood levels of PBDEs took longer to become pregnant compared with women who have lower PBDE levels.

In addition, the study suggests that each 10-fold increase in the blood concentration of four PBDE chemicals was linked to a 30% decrease in the odds of becoming pregnant each month.

The figures reveal that 97 percent of US population poses significant levels of PBDEs in their blood, and that the levels in Americans are 20 times higher than in their European counterparts.