Researchers analyzed 1,442 menopausal women, whose average age was 61, and who were not taking estrogen-replacement therapies, nor had they undergone surgery to remove their ovaries. They examined the women's blood and urine for signs of 111 chemicals that are suspected of interfering with the natural production and distribution of hormones in the body.
They found 15 chemicals, including nine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), three pesticides, two phthalates (which are typically found in plastics, common household items, pharmaceuticals, lotions, perfumes, makeup, nail polish, liquid soap and hair spray), and a toxic chemical known as a furan that were significantly associated with earlier menopause and declines in ovarian function.
Cooper recommended people to use glass or paper containers when microwaving food, and minimize their exposure to harmful chemicals in the cosmetics and personal care products they choose.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.