According to a study just published in Environmental Health Perspectives, women with high levels of a chemical found in common household products take twice as long to get pregnant as their peers with lower blood levels of the compound.
Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE) are major components of commercial formulations often used as flame retardants in furniture foam, plastics for TV cabinets, consumer electronics, wire insulation, back coatings for draperies and upholstery and plastics for personal computers and small appliances. The compound is also found in some foods, particularly dairy products and higher-fat meat and fish.
The study found that every tenfold increase in the blood levels of PBDE is associated with a 30-50% decline in the rate of becoming pregnant in any given month,
These compounds are believed to affect fertility rate by altering thyroid function and subsequently a woman’s menstrual patterns.
Lead researcher Kim Harley said “The best way to reduce PDBE exposure is to reduce exposure to house dust.”
Speaking exclusively to Word on Health, leading fertility specialist Joel Batzofin, MD told us “Whenever we are made aware of potentially toxic substances in our living environment, our water and/or our food, this causes significant concern. As it turns out, fertility is frequently one of the first indicators of potential problems”. “However, further well designed and controlled studies are needed before we start advising patients to throw out their sofas and laptops.”
Excellent advice, but Word on Health is doing a little extra dusting today – just in case!