Researchers have discovered a possible connection between chemical compounds commonly found in household products and lower fertility rates in women.
The compounds in question are called perifluorinated chemicals (PFCs), and scientists at UCLA who analyzed blood samples from 1,240 pregnant women found that those with higher levels of fluorine compounds had taken longer to conceive.
They also concluded that high exposure levels are common in developed countries.
"Animal studies have shown that these chemicals may have a variety of toxic effects on the liver, immune system and developmental and reproductive organs," lead researcher Chunyuan Fei said.
The researchers suspect that sperm quality may also be affected by exposure to PFCs, compounding the problem.
The study was conducted jointly between UCLA and the University of Aarhus in Denmark and is published online in the journal Human Reproduction.
PFCs have wide medical and non-medical application, and can be found in some anti-aging cosmetics as well as nail polish and dental floss.