Chemistry in everyday products Triggers for infertility in women?

Do flame retardant chemicals lead to infertility in women?
Certain flame retardant chemicals that are commonly used in furniture and other everyday products could be responsible for female infertility.

In their current study, scientists from the internationally recognized Harvard Unviversity’s school of public health found that flame retardant chemicals in furniture and other products can lead to infertility in women. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives".

Impact of exposure to flame retardant chemicals
In a study in the United States, experts found that more than 80 percent of women with fertility treatment have three types of chemicals in their urine. If there was a high concentration of these chemicals, the researchers increased the probability that the affected women would not have a child after their treatment, the researchers explain. While the study does not offer direct evidence of infertility, it does highlight a possible link.

Avoid contact with organophosphate flame retardants
The current results suggest that exposure to so-called organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) can be one of many risk factors for lower reproductive success, the experts say. The study results would also underline the importance of reducing the use of these flame retardants and developing safe alternatives. In the future, people who want to have children should think about how they can avoid contact with such chemicals. When couples undergo fertility treatment, they can improve their chances of success by reducing their exposure to chemicals, the researchers report.

Where can I find organophosphate flame retardants?
So-called PFRs were actually introduced as a supposedly safer alternative to PentaBDE after these chemicals had shown adverse health effects, the doctors say. The organophosphate flame retardants are found in many everyday products, such as upholstered furniture, baby products and yoga mats. The harmful chemicals can spread from the products through the air and house dust.

A lack of ventilation can increase the load
In our households there are even more chemicals that disrupt the hormonal balance and there can be an accumulation of various substances in the room air and house dust, which is further intensified in the absence of ventilation. Pesticides and phthalates have also been linked to reproductive problems and are equally found in a variety of products.

More research is needed
The higher concentration of flame retardant chemicals is associated with a significant decrease in the success of fertility treatment. Exposure to chemicals must therefore be reduced and the potential effects on fertility should be investigated further, the doctors say. Researchers now need to study the details of the mechanism behind the effect and collect additional data from larger populations and in different parts of the world. (as)

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