Study: Chemicals in Saucepans Linked to Early Menopause

Chemicals found in saucepans and food containers were linked to early menopause, U.S. scientists claimed.

A study of 26,000 U.S. women aged between 42 and 64 years old found that those with the highest levels of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in their bodies experienced menopause earlier than women with low levels, researchers from West Virginia University said Wednesday.

PFCs are man-made chemicals found in a variety of household products, including non-stick cookware sold by DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon. The company has agreed to phase out PFCs in its products by 2015.

Blood samples of the women who participated in the tests showed that those with high levels of PFCs also had "significantly lower" concentrations of the female hormone estrogen, researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

"There is no doubt that there is an association between exposure to PFCs and onset of menopause," research leader Dr. Sarah Knox said, though she cautioned that it was not clear whether PFCs actually caused early menopause.

"Part of the explanation could be that women in these age groups have higher PFC levels because they are no longer losing PFCs with menstrual blood anymore, but it is still clinically disturbing because it would imply that increased PFC exposure is the natural result of menopause," she said.