Chemicals in food
packaging, clothing linked to
Jan 31 (IANS) Perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs, widely used in food
packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal
care products - may be linked with infertility in women. The study
by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public
Health found that women who had higher levels of perfluorooctanoate
(PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in their blood took
longer to become pregnant than normal women.
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 four 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
compounding factors such as age, lifestyle and socio-economic
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
“Perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate were considered to
be biologically inactive, but recently, animal studies have shown
that these chemicals may have a variety of toxic effects on the
liver, immune system and developmental and reproductive organs,”
said UCLA researcher Chunyuan Fei, the study’s co-author, according
to an UCLA release.
“Very few human studies have been done, but one of our earlier
studies showed that PFOA, although not PFOS, may impair the growth
of babies in the womb, and another two epidemiological studies
linked PFOA and PFOS to impaired foetal growth.”
These findings were published online in Human Reproduction.