What does plastic have to do with menopause? According to a new study performed by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, there may be a rather unhealthy connection.
Researchers have found that exposure to chemicals found in plastics and other common materials could speed up the onset of menopause in women by two to four years.
Dr. Amber Cooper, the study’s senior author, explains, “chemicals linked to earlier menopause may lead to an early decline in ovarian function, and our results suggest we as a society should be concerned.”
Dr. Cooper and her fellow researchers also point to connections between diminished ovarian functionality and the earlier onset of osteoporosis, heart disease, and other conditions in menopausal women.
For their study, researchers analyzed the data of just over 31,500 individuals, including just under 1,500 menopausal women of an average age of 61. Blood and urine samples of the women were taken, to test for 111 different chemicals suspected of varying degrees of hormonal disruption.
Of the chemicals tested, 15 were isolated for further testing due to links with earlier menopause; these included two phthalates, nice polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), three pesticides, and one furan (a type of harmful chemical). The scary thing is, all of these chemicals leached into the women’s blood through everyday products – and it would be virtually impossible to tell which product was to blame.
So, what can you do to reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemical compounds? Well, avoiding processed foods and beverages, and choosing organic cleaning and personal care products (or making your own) can make a difference. Also, check out our guide to lowering your dependence on plastic, which houses many of these chemicals, for good.
-The Alternative Daily