Common “permanent” chemicals found in drinking water may be linked to early menopause in women, raising new concerns about these pollutants,media slash Gear reported. The study builds on existing research that has linked perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals to a range of health problems, from thyroid disease to certain types of cancer.
A new study published recently by the Endocrinology Society of America found that women with higher levels of PFAS in the blood also entered menopause on average two years earlier than those with lower levels of PFAS in the blood. This has an impact on a person’s overall health; premature menopause can lead to heart and bone health problems, as well as a decline in overall quality of life.
PFAS ARE CALLED “PERMANENT” CHEMICALS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BREAK DOWN IN THE BODY AND ACCUMULATE OVER TIME. Many people come into contact with these chemicals from drinking water. The Endocrinology Association of America says about 110 million Americans may be exposed to these chemicals in tap water. These contaminants can come from a variety of sources, including foams and non-stick pots used to extinguish fires.
In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a document detailing the sources of exposure to these synthetic chemicals, noting that “major” sources include drinking water, food, and many consumer products such as water repellents, flame retardants, certain food containers, and contact photo printing paper.
Unfortunately, avoiding these chemicals can be tricky. Earlier this year, a study found that while some water filters can remove these substances, the most common types, such as activated carbon filters, are less effective, and some options — the whole-house water filtration system — may be found to increase exposure to these chemicals.
Dr Ding Ning, lead author of the new study, explained:
PFAS is everywhere. Once inside the body, they do not break down and accumulate over time. Because of their persistence in the human body and their potentially harmful effects on ovarian function, it is important to raise awareness of the problem and reduce exposure to these chemicals.