It's been floating around for a while that phthalates, a common chemical in all kinds of products from makeup to household cleaners and plastics, are potentially dangerous. And, if you read the labels on your beauty products, you know that some companies are proudly capitalizing on this fear, boasting "zero phthalates" in their particular brand of what-have-you. Well, it turns out all the hype might be true: A new study suggests these chemicals can actually cause early menopause for the women who use them.
The women in the study experienced menopause an average of 2.3 years earlier than their peers exposed to lower levels of phthalates (most women hit menopause around 51, these women got there around 49). Aside from the obvious downside of aging more quickly, early menopause is an indicator of many other health risks to come — It is often accompanied by increased bone loss, strokes, and heart problems.
One of the study's authors, Dr. Natalia Grindler, noted that some women may be experiencing menopause as much as 15 years earlier than their peers — yes, that means getting hot flashes and all the rest in your late thirties. Sorry, what now? And, makeup isn't the only culprit, either. Many packaged and processed foods also contain phthalates. Even scarier, no matter where you're getting them from, these still-mysterious chemicals may potentially also cause cancer, reproductive system abnormalities, diabetes, and obesity.
Of course, the study is just the first step on a long trail of research that needs to be done before any connection can be confirmed. But still, better safe than sorry — if you can avoid products using these chemicals and switch your diet towards whole, fresh foods, you might as well. It certainly can't hurt. (Huffington Post)