If you're a woman who regularly practices yoga, a new study published in Environmental Health Perspective last week may have sounded a few alarm bells: Apparently, there are chemicals in yoga mats that can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
These chemicals are called organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), and they're a class of chemicals found in most yoga mats. So while your mat won't catch fire while you're in downward-facing dog, it probably is slightly toxic. In an attempt to find out what impact PFRs have on fertility, researchers followed 211 women who were trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The researchers tested for metabolites of PFRs in each woman's urine, and they found that the women with higher levels of these metabolites were 31 percent less likely to have the embryo successfully implant in the uterus, 10 percent less likely to achieve fertilization, 41 percent less likely to get pregnant, and a 38 percent less likely to give live birth. Yikes.