Women exposed to PFAS may experience menopause two years earlier than other women, a new study finds.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are in a wide variety of nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foams. These human-made “forever chemicals” can contaminate drinking water—which more than 100 million Americans likely consume.
“PFAS are everywhere. Once they enter the body, they don’t break down and build up over time,” says lead author Ning Ding, who conducted the study as a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and is now a postdoctoral researcher there.
“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.”
Ding and colleagues 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 health, bone health, and quality of life, and overall health in general among women,” says corresponding author Sung Kyun Park, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences.
The study appears in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Additional coauthors of the study are from the University of Michigan; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the University of California, Davis.
Support for the study came from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Environmental Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute of Nursing Research.
Source: University of Michigan