PCBs contribute to pregnancy delay for some couples


PCBs and similar environmental pollutants do take a toll on couples trying to become pregnant. A new study shows that couples with exposure to more of the pollutants take longer to achieve pregnancy in comparison to couples with lower levels of PCB.

PCBs linger in soil and fatty tissues

Polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs, have been used as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment. They are part of the persistent organochlorine pollutant category which also includes industrial chemicals and things like pesticides. The compounds are resistant to decay and can be found in soil, water and the food chain. They can last for decades in the environment. Some varieties can linger in our fatty tissues or the fatty tissues of other animals. Exposure has known effects on human health, but the effect on human fertility had not been extensively tested.

Findings confirm association with pregnancy delay

“Our findings suggest that persistent organochlorine pollutants may play a role in pregnancy delay,” said the first author, Germain Buck Louis PhD, director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Odds for pregnancy decreased by as much as 29%

Couples contributed blood samples to detect levels of PCBs and PFCs. The women kept a journal recording menstrual cycles and attempts at conception. The researchers were able to project the odds of each couple getting pregnant by using the fecundability odds ratio. They found that the odds for pregnancy declined by 18-21 percent for women and declined by 17-29 percent for men who were exposed to high levels of the chemicals.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, NIH


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