05 Jun “Forever Chemicals” Linked To Earlier Onset of Menopause
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ning Ding MPH, PhD candidate
Sung Kyun Park Sc.D, MPH
Department of Epidemiology
University of Michigan School of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals’, are a family of synthetic chemicals used in a wide variety of nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foams. The main issue is that PFAS are everywhere. It has been estimated that 110 million Americans, 1 out of three, may consume drinking water contaminated with PFAS. PFAS are very persistent and once PFAS enter the body, they don’t break down and build up in the body over time.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our main finding is that women with high overall PFAS blood levels reach menopause 2 years earlier compared with women with low overall PFAS blood levels. This effect is roughly equivalent to the effect of cigarette smoking, when comparing current smokers vs. never smokers.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: 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.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Because earlier menopause is associated with changes in mood, reduced quality of life, and increased the risk of developing other comorbidities such as heart disease and osteoporosis, a woman’s increased risk of earlier menopause has implications for healthcare practitioners planning their care. Therefore, the follow-up question is to what extent early menopause caused by PFAS exposure leads to other chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis).
Sung Kyun Park, Ellen B Gold, Stuart Batterman, Bhramar Mukherjee, Antonia M Calafat, John F Randolph, Siobán D Harlow, Ning Ding. Associations of Perfluoroalkyl Substances with Incident Natural Menopause: the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2020; DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa303
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