The levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) to which workers are exposed should be regulated to reduce their chances of needing infertility treatment, it has been claimed.
A recent study in the journal Human Reproduction found that women with high levels of PFCs - which are found in a wide range of consumer products - tended to take longer to conceive than those with low levels of exposure.
Raj Mathur, a specialist in reproductive medicine and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said that it would be "premature" to recommend controls on PFCs for the general population purely because of their apparent impact on fertility.
However, he claimed: "This study does add to the importance of regulating occupational exposure to workers in relevant chemical industries.
"There should probably be a fuller risk assessment of the impact of PFCs on other aspects of human health," he added.
PFCs are found in pesticides, clothing, carpets, upholstery and industrial surfactants and emulsifiers, among other things.