Flame Resistant Chemicals and Fertility


A new study has linked flame resistant chemicals to problems with fertility. These are the chemicals that can be found pretty much everywhere from our furniture to our carpets.


The study which was completed by the Center for Children's Environmental Health Research at U.C. Berkeley's School of Public Health in California, took samples of blood from 223 pregnant women. Researchers first measured the PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl either) levels in each sample, and then asked the women how long it took them to become pregnant. PBDE are pollutants that not only cause problems with hormone levels, but also build up in the blood and tissues over time.
What researchers found was alarming. For every 10 percent increase in PBDE levels found in the blood sample, the time in which it took the woman to conceive increased by 30 percent. They also believe that their results would have been even more significant if they had included women who were actively trying to conceive, but still hadn’t become pregnant even after a year.
Even more surprising is that researchers say that 97 percent of us have some levels of PBDE in our blood. And those that live in the areas with the strictest laws related to fire safety have the greatest levels present. While there are some states that have banned the use of certain flame resistant chemicals, the homes built before 2006 are still at a greater risk for containing materials with higher BPDE levels. Even more of a problem is that the pollutants are everywhere with varying degrees of PBDE levels, making it hard to test for.
The chemicals enter our bodies through food, air and dust; so some precautions you can opt for are using vacuums with HEPA filters, reducing the amount of meat you eat and keeping your hands washed and cleaned.
One thing that the researchers agree on is that the results from this study should be followed up on by looking at the effects of these same pollutants on men.


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By TTC veteran and mother of two, Elizabeth Andrews.