Chemicals widely used in products such as non-stick cookware, textiles and carpets can adversely affect fertility in women, according to research by specialists at Xinhua Hospital released yesterday.
The study is part of a series by the hospital on reproductive health.
It is the first research in Asia into the effects of exposure to common perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and women's menstrual cycles, an important indicator in fertility.
People can be exposed through drinking water, food and dirt and previous studies have found the chemicals affect fertility.
The Xinhua team led by Zhang Jun approached 1,182 couples going to the hospital for pre-pregnancy consultation and checks and 950 women agreed to participate in the research and give blood samples.
Researchers found traces of the 10 most common PFAS in the samples. Concentrations of four major PFAS were found to have a close relationship with women's periods — women with higher concentrations were more likely to suffer irregular periods and low menstrual blood flow.
"We also asked them about their dietary habits, as food and water are major channels for the intake of such chemicals," Zhang said. "Those having higher PFAS eat more animal liver, river fish and shellfish."