I’ve always wondered if all those chemicals embedded in modern life add up in the end…

Now Berkeley researchers are finding that they do. In fact, women are finding it harder to get pregnant for having been exposed to the array of flame retardant chemicals(PBDEs) found in practically all our manufactured household objects (furniture, carpet, mattresses, pillows, plastics). Unfortunately for us, the stuff accumulates in our fat cells, so over time it can become massive enough to affect us. Moreover, Americans (and especially Californians) have a ton more than Europeans, apparently because we’re more paranoid about catching fire (although it might also have to do with the better EU regulation of chemicals). Cheers to infertility – but at least we’re not all burning! (Or: what’s preferable for us, burning alive once in a while or having babies?)

One of the reasons for this is that there is so much money to be made in the chemical industries that there is a big push to get these sorts of chemicals approved for use without testing. And with 10 000 new chemicals produced every year, it’s difficult to keep up with any regulation. Finally, when regulation does hit the legislature, it usually isn’t popular because of the huge chemical lobby.

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