New study links chemicals in packaging to low fertility in women
Chemicals found in food packaging, upholstery and carpets could be harming women’s fertility, according to US scientists.
The U.S study is the first to show hard evidence that there is a link between infertility and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), also found in clothing and cosmetics.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction revealed that women with higher levels of the chemicals in their blood were more likely to take longer to get pregnant.
PFCs are used regularly in industry owing to their resistance to heat and their ability to repel water and oil.
However, high levels have been linked to organ damage in animals and the chemicals are known to remain in the body for long periods.
Blood samples were taken from women at the University of California at the time of their first antenatal visit. The women were then interviewed about whether their pregnancy was planned and how long it had taken them to conceive.
Researchers concluded that the PFCs may interfere with the hormones involved in reproduction. They believe that women with more chemicals in their blood stream are more likely to suffer irregular menstrual cycles.
Medical researcher Dr Chunyuan Fei said: ‘Very few human studies have been done, but recent animal studies have shown these chemicals may have a variety of toxic effects on the liver, immune system and developmental and reproductive organs.’
UK experts have stressed that more research is required to confirm a link.