A new study reveals that women working directly with pesticides and plasticizers may have less chance of getting pregnant.

Information was collected from about 6,000 women in their 30s. The women in the study sought care for pregnancy in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The pregnancy was planned in more than 66% of the cases.

About 3,700 women in the study offered information about how long it took them to conceive with 15% of the women trying for six months and 10% trying for 12 months. If conception takes more than six months, some experts note this as a fertility problem.

Of all participants, 5.5% gave birth to infants before 37 weeks of gestation. A little more than one percent gave birth before 34 weeks gestation. Around 15% of the infants measured lower than average birth weight (or 3,000 grams) with 5% weighing less than 2,500 grams.

Taken into consideration before study results were published were age, education level, smoking and drinking habits and ethnicity – all factors that can contribute to gestational age at birth and birth weight.

When all risk factors were taken into consideration, researchers found a connection between phthalates, pesticides and birth outcome. Phthlates are commonly used in the plastic industry to give plastics flexibility. Women who came in contact with phthalates and pesticides were two times more likely to take six months or more to get pregnant.

Source: News Release. BMJ Journals. 10 January, 2011.