Flame retardants may come in handy in terms of reducing the risk of accidental fires but at what cost? A new study found that chemicals found in flame retardants may be harmful to women, affecting fertility by causing hormone disruptions in females.
Although Department of Environment Health at Harvard Chan School research fellow Courtney Carignan said although exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of infertility in women, there are many contributors that affect a woman's fertility.
That said, she advises the general public to be careful in an effort to reduce exposure to these chemicals. Unfortunately, these chemicals are everywhere including in the air we breathe.
Flame retardant chemicals found to interfere with women’s fertility
(Natural News) A study done at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital concluded that organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), which are utilized in the manufacture of such products as upholstered furniture, gym mats, baby products, and yoga mats, negatively impacted women’s reproductive health.
Flame-retardant materials are popular because manufacturers wish to accommodate consumer demand for products that burn easily. However, what we don’t know is that the chemicals that make these products flame-resistant could possibly leach into our bodies and affect our ability to procreate. Unfortunately, we can’t hide from these chemicals because they’re everywhere: in building materials, in clothing, in electronics. Even the very air that we breathe might contain some of these chemicals.
According to Department of Environment Health at Harvard Chan School research fellow Courtney Carignan, “These findings suggest that exposure to PFRs may be one of many risk factors for lower reproductive success. They also add to the body of evidence indicating a need to reduce the use of these flame retardants and identify safer alternatives.”
For his part, Professor Russ Hauser, Carignan’s colleague at Harvard University’s school of public health, said, “Couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) and trying to improve their chances of success by reducing their exposure to environmental chemicals may want to opt for products that are flame-retardant free.” (Related: Infertility Linked to Common Household Chemicals.)
The flame retardant pentabromodiphenyl ether (PentaBDE), which was used in polyurethane foam, was phased out over 10 years ago after it was found to cause ill effects to health in animal and epidemiological studies. PFRs were found to be safer; the only caveat was that they caused hormone disruption in women.
The study specifically found that these flame retardant chemicals inhibited the production of thyroid and sex hormones in animals, and jeopardized embryo development.
The researchers studied urine samples from 211 women who were undergoing IVF at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center from 2005 to 2015. The study resulted in findings that showed that the urinary metabolites of three PFRs – tris( 1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP), triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), and mono-ITP – were identified in more than 80 percent of the participants.
Image courtesy of: Marvin Beatty