A team of researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) have said that chemicals found in cosmetics and plastics could cause women to experience premature menopause. The researchers said that women who were found to have these chemicals in higher percentages in their bodies were more likely to suffer from earlier menopause as a result of weakened ovarian function. Senior author of the study, Amber Cooper, who also teaches gynecology and obstetrics at the (WUSM) said that certain chemicals have been linked to the earlier onset of menopause.
The medical journal PLOS ONE published the study, which did not clearly prove that being exposed to certain chemicals could cause menopause, but authors of the study said that they have uncovered associations that can provide leads for more in-depth research. The findings of this study were based on a sample of women at the menopausal stage, collected from all over the United States. The average age of this representative sample of women was 61 years, and only those women who were not known to be taking therapies for estrogen replacement were brought on board. The other criterion for the study was that the participants should not have undergone ovary-removal procedures.
Researchers studied urine and blood samples collected from these women to look for as many as 111 chemicals that are either suspected to proven to interfere with the natural distribution and production of hormones in the female body. After studying the samples, scientists found that of the 111 chemicals on their radar, 15 were seen to be associated with the early onset of menopause to a significant degree and also caused the function of ovaries to decline.
These 15 chemicals included nine PCBs, two phthalates, and three pesticides that are seen to be present in cosmetics (nail polish, perfumes, hair spray, makeup, pharmaceuticals, liquid soap, and other products) as well as in common household use products. The researchers have now called for closer examination of these chemicals.