Perfluorinated Chemicals Linked to Reduced Fertility

Routine exposure to perfluorinated chemicals associated with increased time to pregnancy, infertility

TUESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- At exposures common in developed countries, the perfluorinated chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) may reduce a woman's ability to reproduce and increase the time needed to become pregnant, according to research published online Jan. 28 in Human Reproduction.

Chunyuan Fei, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated the plasma levels of PFOS and PFOA at weeks 4 through 14 of pregnancy in 1,240 women from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Participants were recruited to this cohort between 1996 to 2002.

Higher maternal levels of both PFOS and PFOA were significantly associated with longer time required to become pregnant, the investigators found. Women in the top 75 percent of PFOS levels were between 70- to 134-fold more likely to be infertile, while women in the top 75 percent of PFOA levels were between 60- to 154-fold more likely to be infertile, the report indicates. Women with higher PFOS and PFOA levels were also more likely to be older and have a history of spontaneous miscarriages or irregular menstrual cycles, the researchers report. Interestingly, women with unplanned pregnancies were more likely to have lower levels of perfluorinated chemicals, they add.

"Exposure to PFOA and PFOS at levels found in the general population may increase time to pregnancy," the authors conclude, adding "perfluorinated chemicals may explain some of the fertility differences seen among different populations in developed countries."

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