University of Michigan study finds PFAS possible contributor to early menopause in women

Early menopause could lead to other impacts on health, quality of life

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A recently published study by University of Michigan researchers shows that exposure to PFAS may contribute to women experiencing menopause two years earlier.

Perfluoroalkyl substances, shortened to PFAS, are man-made chemicals found in fire-fighting foams, waterproofing, stain repellents, polishes, nonstick products and food packaging. They do not breakdown in the body and instead increase within the body.

Researchers from the U-M, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of California, Davis studied 1,120 midlife women and found that women with higher amounts of PFAS in their blood experienced menopause earlier than those who did not.

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Menopause affects women differently but experiencing it earlier could lead to impacts on quality of life, bone health and cardiovascular health, according to Sung Kyun Park, an associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences at U-M School of Public Health.

Lead author and U-M postdoctoral researcher Ning Ding, said that raising awareness about PFAS was necessary due to their potential effects on bodily functions.

The women studied within the research were from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a 17-year long study investigating the health of midlife women and older women. They came from different backgrounds ranging in age from 45 to 56-years-old.

The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In April, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team announced a $4 million grant program to support monitoring and testing for PFAS contamination for municipal airport operators.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.