9 Things That Could Make You Start Menopause Early And How To Stop It 9 Things That Could Make You Start Menopause Early And How To Stop It
You may not think twice about the bottle of body wash that you use in the shower each morning, or the plastic container of... 9 Things That Could Make You Start Menopause Early And How To Stop It
You may not think twice about the bottle of body wash that you use in the shower each morning, or the plastic container of Thai you microwaved for dinner last night, but these items may contain chemicals that can potentially wreak havoc on your body.

A recent study published in PLOS ONE that analyzed exposure to 111 chemicals in women all over the U.S. found that those with the highest levels in their bodies experienced menopause 2 to 4 years earlier, compared with women with the lowest levels. “That’s actually an association that’s more profound than smoking,” says lead study author Amber R. Cooper, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, and an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

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So…what’s the connection? “That’s one of the big, lingering questions,” says Cooper. The chemicals that she studied are considered “endocrine-disrupting,” but why, exactly, they may lead to early menopause isn’t yet known. It’s also not clear whether one main chemical is causing the damage, or whether multiple chemicals interacting with each other could be the problem. What’s important to understand is that it isn’t any one product that contains dangerous levels of a chemical—it’s that tiny amounts of exposure from lots of products accumulate over time. The PLOS ONE study didn’t analyze women who had been exposed to unusually high amounts of chemicals; it looked at everyday exposure that builds up gradually.
Unfortunately, until more studies are able to show a distinct cause-and-effect relationship, as opposed to a mere association or link (as this study did), it’s unlikely that potentially dangerous chemicals will be removed from products. That means that you, as a consumer, have to be extra careful about what you purchase. To help you play it safe, we gathered a list of some of the top offenders when it comes to products that tend to contain the chemicals that were studied, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, and phthalates. Check them out, below, so you can shop smarter.

Plastic Food Storage Containers
The Facts: Phthalates are often used in this type of product because they make plastics softer and more flexible.
The Fix: You can look for a plastic brand that says “phthalate-free,” such as Sterilite. But some experts insist that it’s best to avoid plastic altogether and buy food storage containers that are made of glass or stainless steel. If you insist on keeping your old plastic food storage containers, at the very least, don’t microwave anything in them. “The chemicals in plastic aren’t bound to the product. They’re additives, so they can leach out into the food that you’re eating, and heat accelerates that,” says Simona Balan, PhD, senior scientist at Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, California. (That goes for plastic take-out containers, too.) Instead, microwave your food on glass, stainless steel, paper, or on a microwave-safe dinner plate.

Personal Care Products
The Facts: This is a huge category that contains items such as shampoo, lotion, and body wash. Anything that comes in a soft, plastic container is suspect—especially anything that contains a fragrance—because it could contain phthalates.
The Fix: Companies don’t have to list phthalates as ingredients, though they sometimes do. If you see anything on an ingredient list that ends in the word “phthalate,” don’t buy it. Look for items that are fragrance-free and check out companies that make natural, phthalate-free products, such as Burt’s Bees.

 

Perfume/Cologne
The Facts: Phthalates are commonly used in perfumes and colognes, because they make the scent last longer, says Balan.
The Fix: Switch to a natural, phthalate-free fragrance, such as a scent from Tsi-La Organics—and just keep in mind that you may have to re-apply it more often.

Frozen Meals

frozen meal( Photograph by Frank Bean/Getty Images )

The Facts: Foods that comes in plastic food packaging, like frozen meals, tubs of butter, yogurt, or plastic jars of pretzels could contain phthalates.
The Fix: Whenever possible, avoid plastic and buy products that come in glass or paper packaging.Fish
The Facts: There are nine PCBs that have been banned in the U.S. since 1979, but the problem is, we’re still exposed to them—largely because they’ve gotten into the land, air, and water. “They’re considered persistent chemicals, because they don’t break down. Some chemicals might be released into the environment when the chemical is made, when the chemical is added to products, when the product is used, and whenever the product is disposed of improperly. Little critters in the sea might ingest some of it, then a bigger fish may eat lots of those critters, and then we might eat that fish—so it climbs up the food chain,” says Veena Singla, PhD, staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Fix: “In certain areas of the country—like in the Great Lakes area, for example—some bodies of water may contain fish that have higher levels of PCBs, because historically, PCBs may have been manufactured or disposed of there. If you sport fish, pay attention to advisories for specific lakes and rivers,” says Singla. PCBs tend to build up the most in fish that are fatty and in fish that eat many other fish (a.k.a. larger, older fish). So when purchasing fish at a grocery store or restaurant, choose ones that are low in fat, small, and young. And contact your state health department for more information about fish and bodies of water in your region. (Here’s how to buy the healthiest fish.)

Dairy & Meat
The Facts: PCBs creep into dairy and meat products the same way that they creep into fish.
The Fix: You can choose organic dairy and meat products at the supermarket to make sure that antibiotics and growth hormones aren’t allowed. However, even organic products may contain PCBs, since the chemicals are still present in our environment. So your best bet is simply to reduce your consumption of these items, if possible. For example, try taking “meatless Monday” to a new level by going 100% vegetarian once a week. (These 13 delicious vegetarian meals will get you started.)

Fruits & Veggies
The Facts: The issue with regular fruits and vegetables at the supermarket is that many of them are sprayed with toxic pesticides.
The Fix: The good news is that buying organic produce as often as your budget allows means that you can avoid consuming pesticides. Be sure to always buy these 14 fruits and veggies organic, as they contain the highest levels of pesticides.

Candles & Air Fresheners
The Facts: Though you probably want your home to smell good, in 2011, the Natural Resources Defense Council tested 14 air fresheners and found that 12 contained phthalates (even ones marketed as “all-natural” or “unscented”).
The Fix: Choose a soy-based or beeswax-based candle with a lead-free wick that’s made with essential oils and/or phthalate-free fragrances, such as Soylar Candles.

Old Plastic Kids’ Toys

plastic toys( Photograph by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images )

The Facts: In February 2009, the U.S. banned manufacturers from using six types of phthalates in plastic children’s toys and in certain plastic child care products (those for kids ages 3 and under to “facilitate sleeping or feeding, or to help a child who is sucking or teething”). If children put toys made before this ban in their mouths, they could ingest small amounts of these chemicals.
The Fix: Don’t accept plastic hand-me-down children’s toys, unless you know for sure that they were made after February of 2009. To be safest, buy new ones. And if you buy a plastic toy from another country, keep in mind that that particular country may have looser rules than the U.S.

Source: http://www.prevention.com/health/early-menopause-triggers

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