In a news article published in the February issue of the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, journalist Lindsey Konkel reports that early menopause may also cause elevated polyfluoralkyl substance (PFAS) levels, rather than PFAS exposure resulting in premature menopause A recent study by Kyla Taylor and colleagues raises the question whether early menopause may not lead to a build-up of PFAS body burden (Taylor et al. 2014). In the study, the researchers from the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, U.S. analyzed data from women between 20-65 years of age from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found evidence of reverse causation as levels of PFCs were positively associated with the rate of surgical uterus removal and time since menopause. In the news article Kyla Taylor, lead author of the study, is quoted saying that menstruation may be a natural way of eliminating PFCs from the body. In contrast to many other persistent chemicals, PFAS are bound in blood rather than accumulating in fat tissue. Numerous studies have reported associations between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) exposure and thyroid function as well as timing of puberty and menopause. Sarah Knox, researcher of PFAS at the West Virginia University, U.S., concludes that “only a longitudinal study can provide the insight to determine causality”.

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Lindsey Konkel (February 4, 2014). “PFCs and early menopause.Environmental Health Perspectives.


Taylor, K. et al. (2014). “Polyfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Menopause among Women 20–65 Years of Age (NHANES).