Common Chemicals Linked to Earlier Menopause
“Chemicals linked to earlier menopause may lead to an early decline in ovarian function,” says Amber Cooper, MD, “and our results suggest we as a society should be concerned.” Dr. Cooper is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.She’s talking about endocrine disruptors; a class of chemicals that tricks the body into responding as if natural estrogen is present, albeit at unusual levels. Women with higher levels of common household chemicals are entering menopause two to four years earlier than women with low levels of the chemicals, according to the Washington University team.
Endocrine disruptors include chemicals such as phthalates, which have been specifically implicated in abnormally early menopause. These chemicals are common in personal products such as lotions, cosmetics, perfumes, makeup, and nail polish, among other common household and personal care products. Other potential endocrine disruptors include PCBs and certain pesticides.“Earlier menopause can alter the quality of a woman’s life and has profound implications for fertility, health and our society,” Cooper says. “Understanding how the environment affects health is complex. This study doesn’t prove causation, but the associations raise a red flag and support the need for future research.”
At the very least, this disturbing finding suggests that avoiding synthetic chemicals and other potential toxins, in our food and household products, is a good idea. What’s especially disturbing, though, is the fact that these chemicals persist in the air, land and water, and are contaminating virtually everyone, whether they are aware of it or not.
Natalia M. Grindler, Jenifer E. Allsworth, George A. Macones, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Kimberly A. Roehl, Amber R. Cooper. Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (1): e0116057 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116057