Thursday, January 29, 2015

New evidence links common chemicals to early onset menopause

Women with daily exposure to certain household chemicals can begin menopause up to nearly four years earlier than the average age of 51, a new study found.

"Biology normally says when it should happen, and there's a role for that," CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said on "CBS This Morning" Thursday. "At the same time, early menopause can accelerate some diseases. So we need to be aware of this."

According to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, women whose bodies have high levels of chemicals found in plastics, personal-care products, common household items and the environment experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of these chemicals.

The researchers tested over 100 chemicals and identified 15 of them -- nine PCBs, three pesticides, two phthalates and a furan (a toxic chemical) -- that were significantly associated with earlier ages of menopause and potentially have detrimental effects on ovarian function.


To reduce your risk of chemical exposure, Agus suggests microwaving food in glass instead of plastic and reading labels on cosmetics to avoid the list of dangerous chemicals.


A decline in ovarian function not only can adversely affect fertility but also can lead to earlier development of heart disease, osteoporosis and other health problems. Other problems previously linked to the chemicals include certain cancers, metabolic syndrome and, in younger females, early puberty.


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