Wash U study: Makeup chemicals linked to early menopause


by KMOV.com staff


Posted on January 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 11:33 AM

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A new study out of Washington University in St. Louis warns that chemicals in cosmetics, plastics and household cleaners -- including phthalates -- can cause women to go through menopause earlier than their peers.

In the study, researchers examined the levels of certain chemicals in the blood or urine of more than 5,000 women.

The chemicals "are found everywhere: personal care products that we use, cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, nail polish. They are all throughout our house, vinyl floors, curtains...in all honesty most people probably have a low level in their blood or urine all the time," said Dr. Amber Cooper of the Reproductive Endocrinology Department at Washington University.

Those women with the highest concentration of these chemicals were found to have gone through menopause an average of 2.3 years before the others.

But Dr. Cooper said these chemicals are unavoidable in everyday life.

"At the end of the day, these chemicals are truly ubiquitous throughout the environment. When we walk around, in the air, in the water, over years of exposure, and it's hard to know which chemical is the culprit. We are looking at a family of chemicals; there may be one, two or three that are the problem."

Researchers at Washington University emphasized that the studies are still in the preliminary stages and they do not want to scare people away from wearing make-up.

"It is just more of a level of awareness on what is in the products that we use on a daily basis, and what are we surrounded by, and what do we need to take a look at in our environment. Hopefully it raises more questions and leads to future research," said Dr. Cooper.

The final results of the study may be released in the next month.