On January 28, 2015 Washington University in St. Louis, U.S. published a news release reporting on a new study linking exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and earlier age at menopause. In the study, published in the peer-reviewed, open access journal PLoS ONE, Grindler and colleagues measured blood and urine levels of 111 EDCs. Several smaller studies have previously examined the link between EDCs and menopause, but the current study is the first to explore the association between menopause and individual chemicals on a large scale using data collected from 1999 to 2008 by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). A total of 1442 menopausal women had a laboratory assessment of EDC serum and urine levels. The results show associations between 15 specific EDCs and earlier age at menopause, with menopause occurring up to four years earlier in women with the highest EDC levels. The authors stress that these 15 EDCs warrant closer evaluation due to their potential detrimental effects on ovarian function. Among these chemicals were also mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate and mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate that are oxidative metabolites of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7). In the EU, DEHP is authorized for use in plastic food contact materials and in the U.S. it is approved as an indirect food additive.

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Washington University in St. Louis (January 28, 2015). “Earlier menopause linked to everyday chemical exposures.


Grindler, N.M. et al. (2015). “Persistent organic pollutants and early menopause in U.S. women.PLoS ONE (open access, published online January 28, 2015).