Boston: Exposure to a common chemical found in yoga mats, baby products and upholstered furniture may reduce the chances of pregnancy through IVF, a Harvard study warns.
The flame retardant PentaBDE, used in polyurethane foam, was replaced by organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) as a safer alternative.
However, they have been found to cause hormone disruption in animal studies.
PFRS are used in polyurethane foam in many products, including upholstered furniture, baby products, and gym mats. Studies have also shown that PFRs can migrate out of furniture and other products into the air and dust of indoor environments.
Researchers from Harvard University in the US examine associations between organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs)and reproductive outcomes in women.
They analysed urine samples from 211 women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) between 2005 and 2015.
The women were enrolled in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) study, which looks at how environmental chemicals and lifestyle choices affect reproductive health.
The statistical analysis took into consideration factors including maternal age and race, smoking history, and body mass index (BMI).
They found that the urinary metabolites (products of a chemical that has been metabolised) of three PFRs – TDCIPP, TPHP, and mono-ITP – were detected in more than 80 per cent of participants.
On average, compared to women with lower concentrations of these metabolites, women with higher concentrations had a 10 per cent reduced probability of successful fertilisation, 31 per cent reduced probability of implantation of the embryo, and a 41 per cent and 38 per cent decrease in clinical pregnancy and live birth, researchers said.
“Couples undergoing 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,” researchers said.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. (PTI
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