A new study links exposure to a common class of chemicals -- known as PFOA and PFOS -- to infertility in women.
The UCLA School of Public Health study was published in Human Reproduction, a European scientific journal
Women with higher levels of PFOA (perfluorooctanoate) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels, according to the study of 1,240 women.
Compared to women with relatively small amounts of the chemicals in their blood, the incidence of infertility increased by 60 to 154% in women with higher concentrations. Infertility, in the terms of the study, was described as a woman taking longer than 12 months to become pregnant, or seeking infertility treatments.
It's not the first study to link these chemicals to health problems. Other studies have tied them to liver, immune system, developmental and reproductive problems, according to the study's authors. But this is one of the first studies to test the chemicals' effects on humans.
Both PFOA and PFOS are man-made chemicals that are used to make a variety of consumer products, like packaging, breathable clothing, nonstick cookware, upholstery, carpets and personal care products, as well as in industrial processes and chemicals, like pesticides.
PFOS is being phased out in the U.S. by its main manufacturer, 3M, and is being considered for worldwide ban by the United Nations. PFOA, also known as C8, was developed by 3M and then manufactured by Dupont. The Environmental Protection Agency has asked U.S. companies to voluntarily stop using the chemical by 2015. Both chemicals are long-lived in the environment, and have been found widely throughout nature, including in high concentrations in Arctic wildlife, far from sources of industrial pollution.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.