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An endocrine disrupting chemical is a chemical found outside the body that mimics or alters the endocrine (hormone) system and causes health problems in a person, their offspring and even future generations. Endocrine disrupters exert their effect at levels far below what is considered to be harmful. It is the timing and duration of exposure and not the dose that determines what impact these chemicals have on the body. Often, these health problems don’t become apparent until years down the track.
We have written about EDC before so check out this previous blog.
Researchers studied over 31,500 women and assessed their exposure rate to EDC’s. Astonishingly, women aged 45-55 that had the highest exposure rate went through menopause 1.9-3.8 years earlier than women with the lowest exposure rates. The researchers feel that these harmful chemicals damage the follicles in the ovary, leading to reduced ovarian reserve.
The researchers concluded “Earlier menopause can alter the quantity and quality of a woman’s life and has profound implications for fertility, human reproduction, and our global society.” Another recent study on 501 couples showed that exposures to EDCs was associated with approximately 20% reduced fertility.
The results of this research also suggest that increasing levels of blood or urine EDC’s and NOT just high levels are associated with loss of ovarian function. So for any woman who is having trouble ovulating, with fertility or regulating her hormones, this research is profound. As the researchers note “The health of future generations is at risk, and without further research in this area, those born today could be affected in decades to come.”