If you are struggling to conceive and are planning to undergo fertility treatment then stay away from products with flame retardants as this may hamper fertility. A study has claimed that avoiding products like yoga mats may help, as those with flame retardant chemicals can disrupt in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The findings showed that women with higher urinary concentrations of a common type of flame retardant known as organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) - used in polyurethane foam in many products, including upholstered furniture, baby products and gym mats - had reduced likelihood of clinical pregnancy and live birth following IVF than those with lower concentrations.
"These findings suggest that exposure to PFRs may be one of many risk factors for lower reproductive success," said lead author Courtney Carignan, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, 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.
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 (foetal heartbeat confirmed by ultrasound) and live birth, as compared to women with lower concentrations of these metabolites."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," said Russ Hauser, professor at the varsity.
Earlier, another flame retardant PentaBDE was used in polyurethane foam, however, it was phased out a decade ago and PFRs were introduced as a safer alternative. In lab tests conducted on animals, PFRs have been found to disrupt hormones. Researchers have also proven that PFRs can migrate out of furniture and other products and mix up in air and dust inside your house.
(With IANS inputs)