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Household chemicals may be linked to infertility
Date:1/30/2009

Researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health have found the first evidence that perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs chemicals that are widely used in everyday items such as food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products may be associated with infertility in women.

Published online in Human Reproduction, Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, the study found that women who had higher levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels.

The UCLA researchers used data from the Danish National Birth Cohort to assess whether levels of PFOS and PFOA in pregnant women's plasma were associated with a longer time to pregnancy. A total of 1,240 women were included in their analyses.

Blood samples were first taken between 4 and 14 weeks into the pregnancy so that concentrations of PFOS and PFOA 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 a situation in which infertility treatments were used to establish the pregnancy, and the results were adjusted for potential confounding factors such as age, lifestyle and socioeconomic status.

The level of PFOS in the women's plasma ranged from 6.4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) to 106.7 ng/ml, and from less than 1 ng/ml to 41.5 ng/ml for PFOA.

The researchers divided the women's levels of PFOS/PFOA into four quartiles and found that, compared with women with the lowest levels of exposure, the likelihood of infertility increased by 70 to 134 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of PFOS exposure and by 60 to 154 percent for women in the higher three quartiles of PFOA exposure.

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Contact: Sarah Anderson
sanderson@ph.ucla.edu
310-267-0440
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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