(HealthDay News) – Exposure to persistent pollutants is associated with reduced fecundability, according to a study published online Nov. 14 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Germaine M. Buck Louis, PhD, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Health in Rockville, MD, and colleagues examined the correlation between selected persistent pollutants and couple fecundity in a cohort of 501 couples discontinuing contraception to become pregnant who were followed for 12 months or until confirmed pregnancy. Couples completed daily journals on lifestyle and provided biospecimens which were assessed for quantification of pesticides.

The researchers found that, in females, increases in log-transformed serum concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners 118, 167, and 209, and perfluorooctane sulfonamide correlated with an adjusted reduction in fecundability of 18%–21%. For males, increases in p,p’-1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene and PCB congeners 138, 156, 157, 167, 170, 172, and 209 correlated with reductions in fecundability of 17%–29%. In females and males, the strongest associations were seen for PCB 167 and PCB 138, respectively (fecundability odds ratio, 0.79 and 0.71, respectively).

“In a couple-based prospective cohort study with preconception enrollment and quantification of exposures in both female and male partners, a subset of persistent environmental chemicals were associated with reduced fecundity,” the authors write.

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