A Link Between Early Onset of Menopause and Household Chemicals

household chemicals

The hot flashes, night and day sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and hair loss or thinning are just a handful of the symptoms of Menopause. Every woman goes through this transition once in their life. But did you know that common household products, such as your food packages, personal care items and cosmetics, contain chemicals that can cause menopause to start anywhere between two to four years earlier than biology may have planned? With 51 being the average age for when menopause begins, some women can experience it as early as in their mid-40s if they are not being careful. Of course, we cannot control when menopause occurs, but we can take steps to help prevent it from beginning prematurely.

Dr. David Agus spoke with CBS News on the dangers of chemicals found in household products. He identifies fifteen chemicals that can cause menopause to start early when found in large quantities. These toxins include nine PCBs (banned in the US), three pesticides (banned in the US), two phthalates, and one furan (forms in food from packaging when exposed to heat).

So why are some of these household chemicals that have been banned years ago, still prevalent? The reason is because they “last for long periods of time in the environment, and over a decade in our blood,” said Dr. Anus. And chemicals such as phthalates are still being used to soften plastics, especially in cosmetics like lipsticks and personal care items like shampoos.

Why is early menopause dangerous for women? Dr. Agus stressed how it poses a risk for a woman’s health because “osteoporosis and heart disease dramatically increase during menopause”, and can become even worse post-menopause. Since your hormones go up and down throughout menopause, the low hormonal levels of post-menopause play a large role in the onset of osteoporosis.

There are easy steps we can take to reduce chemical exposure and help prevent the early onset of menopause by microwaving food in glass instead of plastic, and by reading labels on cosmetics, personal care items and food packaging. Our health is everything, and making small changes in our lives can also help and teach those after us such as our daughters and granddaughters and so on.

Watch the full report on CBS News below.