New study links chemicals to infertility

Perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate are long words that can be shortened to PFC's. They're in products that touch our food, our bodies and our homes.

Researchers have always been suspicious of them now UCLA scientists say high levels in the blood may be associated with infertility in women.

"We found the higher the concentrations the longer waiting time they had to get pregnant," said Dr. Jorn Olsen, UCLA.

Dr. Olsen followed about 1,200 Danish women. The ones with higher levels also reported disruption in their menstrual cycles, which could indicate PFC's somehow affect women's hormones.

"It could be an effect on the hormonal function. That is one possible mechanism, but the bottom line is that we don't know," said Dr. Olsen.

What researchers do know is that PFC's are in almost everyone's bodies and even if you were to reduce exposure it could take years to clear it from your system.

"You get them from the food, from clothes, from the carpets. They are very very difficult to avoid," said Dr. Olsen.

Many women say they'd like to avoid PFC's but it would be difficult and inconvenient.

"Especially with the economy the way it is people don't want to change and they want the easy things. Fast food comes in plastic," said Tracy Line, who is concerned about chemicals.

"I don't want to be crazy and paranoid about everything I do. So I try to minimize it and you have to weigh out convenience and price in order to make the best decision for yourself," said Kristin Yamada.

As for the concerns of infertility, Dr. Olsen says all the women in the study did eventually get pregnant, it just took a few years longer for those who had higher concentration of PFC's. It's information these women will keep in mind.

"I try to stay healthy in all the other ways," said Yamada.

Dr. Olsen say they do know PFC's can be passed from a mother's body to her baby. So the next step in his research is to determine how PFC levels affect the health of an unborn child.



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