Pesticides may make it impossible for a woman to breast feed, but if she’s exposed to too many of the ordinary chemicals that are all around us at home and at the office, it won’t matter anyway: these reduce fertility!

Some of the chemicals found in food packaging, upholstery and carpets may damage female fertility, because they contain PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals). Manufacturers love PFCs because they resist heat and repel water and oil. When scientists tested the blood of a large group of California women of child-bearing age, they found that over 1,200 of them tested positive for PFCs. Most of them said they were looking forward to having children, but researchers think this is less likely to happen to women who have a large amount of that chemical in their bodies.

While our homes and workplaces may be tainted with chemicals, at least our farms have improved: although few consumers realize it, fruits, veggies, and other agricultural products marketed in the United States today are grown on farms that use less pesticide than 30 years ago. Pesticide use has dropped in the US due to more efficient pesticides and better agricultural practices. Pesticide use peaked at 1.46 billion pounds in 1979 and fell to 1.23 billion pounds in 2001?the last year for which comprehensive data are available, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Since then pesticide use has remained at those lower levels.

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