A Harvard study published last weekend in the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives revealed an alarming connection between yoga and IVF failure, Israeli site Ynet reports. Researchers discovered that flame retardants (especially PFRs) commonly used in sofas, chair seats, mattresses, yoga mats and mobile cases can drastically harm female fertility: Women whose urine samples showed the presence of flame retardants were significantly less likely to conceive following their fertility treatments.
The researchers followed 211 women who underwent fertility treatments over the course of 10 years. 80% of the subjects were found to have traces of flame retardants in their urine. This happens because as the material treated with retardants disintegrates, the chemicals become airborne and enter our body via the respiratory system. Women with the highest levels were found to be 40% less likely to give birth to a healthy child.
While Dr Russ Hauser, from the TH Chan School of Public Health, admits that the results aren’t enough to conclusively prove the link between flame retardants and infertility, he believes that there is enough evidence to suggest that couples looking to become parents should minimize contact with products containing them.
According to another researcher, Dr Courtney Carignan, the results should serve as a wake-up call that there is a need to minimise the use of flame retardants and invest in the search for safer alternatives. Meanwhile, the experts are planning on conducting a similar study to assess the impact of the chemicals on male fertility.
Professor Shlomo Mashiach, an Israeli fertility expert, further added that recent research showed that various chemicals used in the furniture, clothing and food industries, as well as in plastic products and pesticides negatively affect fertility-related hormonal activity in both men and women.