Health & Spirit

Trouble getting pregnant? Get away from hormone-disrupting flame retardants

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

When yogis gathered at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, they might be excused for thinking they needed fireproof yoga mats. Temperatures topped 100 F, and participants were, in the words of one yoga teacher, glowing with energy.

But a new study shows that fireproof yoga mats are not such a good idea. Flame retardants in polyurethane foam -- found in everything from yoga mats to kids' car seats -- decreases female fertility. These PFRs (phosphorous flame retardants) get into the body through touch and through the air.

PFRs were introduced when previously used toxins were phased out, but animal studies show that they're hormone disruptors. And a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reveals what that can do.

The researchers looked at how PFRs affect the chances of becoming pregnant and of pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Urinary metabolites of three PFRs -- TDCIPP, TPHP and mono-ITP -- were detected in more than 80 percent of the study's 211 participants. Women with high concentrations of PFRs were, on average, 31 percent less likely to achieve implantation of the embryo and about 40 percent less likely to achieve a clinical pregnancy (fetal heartbeat confirmed by ultrasound), and live birth than those with the lowest level of Ps in their pee.

So, if you're trying to become pregnant -- heck, if you're male, female, young, old -- choose furniture and clothing that's free of flame retardants; replace old foam products/pillows/cushions with PFR-free foam. Opt for natural fabrics, like cotton, and natural fillers, like cotton batting.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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