Do you know that exposure to some chemicals found commonly around the house and in some beauty products can cause a woman to reach menopause early? That was the conclusion of a recently published study, and we will tell you what you can do about it.
The study, lead by researcher Dr. Natalia M. Grindler and published in the international medical journal PLOS One, examined blood levels of 111 chemicals thought to be disruptive to the endocrine system, in over 31,000 women, from 1999 to 2008.
The results showed that the women with the blood tests showing significant level of chemical exposure underwent menopause from 2 to 4 years earlier than women without significant chemical exposure.
Early menopause means the woman’s ovaries have stopped functioning earlier than they normally would have. Besides leading to earlier symptoms of menopause and loss of fertility, this predisposes the woman to additional concerns such as weakened bones (osteoporosis), and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
These chemicals are found in personal care and beauty products such as makeup, hair sprays, fragrances, nail polish, lipstick, lotions, liquid soap, and hairspray. They are also present in common household cleaning products, as well as plastic items such as many plastic storage containers, and plastic wrap.
Many of these chemicals have already been banned in many countries, but the chemicals persist for a long time in our environment. Says one of the study authors Dr. Amber Cooper, “Many of these chemical exposures are beyond our control because they are in the soil, water and air. 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.”
It is nearly impossible to completely avoid some of these chemicals, but we can minimize our exposure by taking some simple measures. Minimize any exposure to pesticide and avoid skin and nasal exposure to household cleaning products as much as you can. Buy “natural” cosmetics when possible, and try to avoid synthetic fragrances may which contain the harmful substance “phthalate”.
Also important to keep in mind is that plastics in the microwave are not a good combination, as heating these plastics releases the toxic chemicals into your food. Instead of plastic containers, use microwave-safe glass or paper.
If you want more details about the exact chemicals studied, you can see the original technical publication. But the main thing to keep in mind is to be a bit more conscious of what we buy and how we use things on our bodies, on our children, to clean the house, and in cooking.
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