As a follow up to a previous blog on The Dirty Dozen Environmental Toxins to Avoid, the following research gives even more credence to the notion that the chemicals in our environment are impacting our fertility in measurable ways. I encourage every one of us to seriously consider how the toxins in our homes may be impairing our chances of conception, then to get rid of whatever we can.
Exposure to endocrine disruptors associated with early onset of menopause
Knox SS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;doi:10.1210/jc.2010-2401.
Higher levels of perfluorocarbons in the body are associated with increased odds of early menopause for women aged 42 to 64 years, according to researchers. Women in this age group with high levels of perfluorocarbons also had significantly lower concentrations of estrogen vs. women who had low levels of the endocrine disruptor.
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) are man-made chemicals used in a variety of household products, including food containers, clothing, furniture, carpets and paints. The broad use of PFCs has resulted in widespread dissemination in water, air, soil, plant life, animals and humans, even in remote parts of the world. PFCs are known to have multiple adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular risk and immune system impairment. A probability sample of US adults found measurable concentrations of PFCs in 98% of the participants tested, according to The Endocrine Society.
“The current study is the largest ever to be done in the endocrine-disrupting effects of perfluorocarbons in human women,” Sarah Knox, PhD, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Our data show that after controlling for age, women of perimenopausal and menopausal age in this large population are more likely to have experienced menopause if they have higher serum concentrations of PFCs than their counterparts with lower levels.”
The study included 25,957 women aged 18 to 65 years. All were recruited from the C8 Health Project, which comprised a cohort of more than 69,000 adults and children who were studied because of PFC contamination from drinking water in two US states. Knox and researchers ascertained menopausal status of the women and then measured serum concentrations of PFCs and estradiol.
According to the results, there was an association between PFC exposure, decreased estradiol and early menopause in women aged older than 42 years. The researchers also found an inverse association between PFC levels and estradiol in women of child-bearing age, but this association was not statistically significant.
The causality between PFC exposure and onset of menopause remains unclear, Knox said.
“Part of the explanation could be that women in these age groups have higher PFC levels because they are no longer losing PFCs with menstrual blood anymore, but it is still clinically disturbing because it would imply that increased PFC exposure is the natural result of menopause,” she said in the release.