- Oct 21, 2019
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Earlier onset of menopause linked to chemicals in common household goods
Women with high levels of certain chemicals in their body experience
menopause 2 to 4 years earlier than women with lower levels of these
chemicals, according to a study published in PLoS ONE.
These chemicals, known as endocrine disrupting chemicals,
are found in the environment as well as common household items
and beauty products.
Earlier menopause is linked to fertility issues and also can lead to earlier
development of heart disease, osteoporosis, and other health problems.
Other problems already linked to the chemicals include certain cancers,
metabolic syndrome and, in young girls, early puberty.
The researchers studied data collected from 1999-2008 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,
conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The survey included information from 31,575 people, including 1,442
menopausal women who had been tested for blood and urine levels of
15 Chemicals Linked to Early Menopause The researchers found 15
chemicals-9 polychlorinated biphenyls, 3 pesticides, 2 phthalates, and 1
furan-that were linked with to an earlier age at menopause.
Women with the highest levels of these 15 chemicals had their last
menstrual period 1.9 to 3.8 years earlier than those with lower levels of these
"Multiple chemicals at use in our environment seem to be associated
with early menopause, and early menopause is associated
with elevated cardiovascular risk,"
explained Sarah S. Knox, PhD, who is a Professor of Epidemiology at West
Virginia University School of Public Health and in Morgantown, WV. Dr. Knox
has done similar research showing that perfluorocarbons disrupt multiple
parts of the endocrine system.
"Many of these chemical exposures are beyond our control because
they are in the soil, water and air," said Amber Cooper, MD, Assistant
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"But we can educate ourselves about our day-to-day chemical exposures and become more aware of the plastics
and other household products we use," Dr. Cooper said.
Dr. Cooper recommends that people microwave food in glass instead
of in plastic and try to learn more about the ingredients in cosmetics,
personal care products and food packaging they use every day.
"Avoid flame retardant clothing, especially in children," Dr. Knox said.
"Do not microwave food in plastic containers or in cardboard food containers.
Whenever feasible, buy organic vegetables to avoid pesticide residues,
which do not disappear by rinsing in cold water," Dr. Knox said.