According to a report recently published in the online edition of Human Reproduction, chemicals known as perfluorinated chemicals may delay pregnancy. These chemicals are found in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and many personal care products.

Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Jorn Olsen, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA's School of Public Health, said that "These widespread chemicals apparently lower the fertility in couples trying to get pregnant." Data was collected from 1,240 women and the reslts showed that the women with the highest levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) took up to 154 percent longer to get pregnant compared with women with the lowest levels of this chemical.

Dr. Olsen explained that the chemicals may affect hormones involved in reproduction. Studies have also found that these chemicals may have toxic effects on the liver, immune system and developmental and reproductive organs. Because of their toxic effects, these chemicals are being phased out in the United States and should, hopefully, be completely gone by the year 2010. It has been noted, however, that these chemicals can remain in the environment and the body for decades. Developmental problems have also been linked to these chemicals.

For additional informationon infertility, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.