"This study did not show a cause-and-effect relationship between PCBs and these outcomes," he said. "We cannot say it doesn't, but neither can we say PCBs have a cause-and-effect relationship either."
Attia did not say women should not be concerned about PCB exposure, but studies that look for a cause-and-effect relationship are needed to prove the connection between these chemicals and adverse IVF outcomes, he explained.
Although PCBs, which were compounds used in industrial materials, were banned in the United States and other countries in the 1970s, they still persist due to widespread use and resistance to breakdown. Exposure to PCBs occurs mostly through foods and they have been linked with reproductive problems, Meeker said.
For more information on the health effects of PCBs, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
SOURCES: John Meeker, Sc.D., assistant professor, environmental health sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor; George R. Attia, M.D., associate professor, clinical obstetrics and gynecology, and director, division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Feb. 24, 2011, Environmental Health Perspectives, online
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