New research from Harvard University has found a direct link between fire retardant products and infertility issues, The Telegraph reported.
Organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) are used in polyurethane foam to prevent fire, and this material is often found in upholostered furniture such as sofas as well as gym mats and mattresses.
The first study of its kind, they conducted the research by analysing the urine samples of 211 women currently undergoing fertility treatments at Massachusetts General Hospital. They found that 80% of the women had flame retardant chemicals in their samples, and the women with particularly high levels were 40% less likely to become pregnant.
Next up they plan to perform a similar study in men to see if the results are similar.
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The scientists behind the study have warned women who are currently undergoing IVF or those who already have fertility problems to choose products without flame retardants.
'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 Dr Russ Hauser, Professor of reproductive physiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
This research supports previous findings in tests done an animals that found that these chemicals could migrate out of furniture into the air, and had the ability to disrupt animal hormone levels.