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Common PFAS Chemical Exposure and Age At Menopause

Does exposure to common PFAS chemicals contribute to an earlier age for menopause? A recent University of Michigan study found an association between blood levels of PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in women and age at menopause. Women with the highest levels of PFAS in their blood had menopause 2 years earlier than those with lower levels.

PFAS are commonly known as "forever chemicals" because they persist in the environment and in humans. These chemicals have been widely used in many industrial and consumer products, such as non-stick cookware and food packaging, including microwave popcorn bags. They are also endocrine (hormone) disruptors and are thought to have an effect on ovarian aging.

What you can do: Don't microwave food, including popcorn, in the packaging it came in. Use microwave safe dishes instead.  Also, avoid nonstick cookware, and instead use plain stainless steel cookware.

From Science Daily: PFAS exposure may cause early menopause in women

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) exposure may cause menopause to occur two years earlier in women, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 

Known as 'forever chemicals,' PFAS are human made and used in a wide variety of nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foams. PFAS chemicals can contaminate drinking water, and it has been estimated that 110 million Americans (one out of three) may consume drinking water contaminated with these chemicals.

"PFAS are everywhere. Once they enter the body, they don't break down and build up over time," said the study's lead author Ning Ding, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Mich. "Because of their persistence in humans and potentially detrimental effects on ovarian function, it is important to raise awareness of this issue and reduce exposure to these chemicals."

The researchers studied 1,120 midlife women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, a 17-year-long prospective cohort study. They found that women with high PFAS levels in their blood samples reached menopause two years earlier than those with lower levels.

"Even menopause a few years earlier than usual could have a significant impact on cardiovascular and bone health, quality of life, and overall health in general among women," said corresponding author Sung Kyun Park, Sc.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

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