(NaturalNews) A class of chemicals commonly used in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant clothing and furniture, automobiles and a variety of other consumer products has been found to cause delayed menstruation in young girls. A Danish study recently published in the journal Human Reproduction reveals that girls whose mothers were exposed to perfluorinated compounds during pregnancy experience their first menstruation an average of about five months later than non-exposed girls.
Beginning in 1988, researchers from multiple institutions across Scandinavia collaborated to evaluate how perfluorinated compounds affect reproductive function, particularly in females who have yet to have their first period. To do this, they collected blood samples from 343 pregnant women over the course of two years, documenting the various levels of perfluoroalkyl substances in their blood and comparing the results.
Twenty years later, the researchers administered questionnaires to the mothers' daughters, who were asked to record the times they had their first periods. From this, the team compared levels of exposure to perfluorinated compounds with the time of the girls' first periods to make an associative connection. And what they found speaks volumes about this pervasive chemical class and the damaging effects it appears to be having on developing girls.
"In adjusted regression analyses, daughters exposed to higher levels of PFOA [perfluorooctanoic acid, one of the most common perfluorinated compounds] in utero had a 5.3 months later age of menarche compared with the reference group of lower PFOA," wrote the authors in their findings. "Crude and adjusted trend tests also indicated a relationship between higher prenatal PFOA exposure and delay of menarche."
PFOA and other perfluorinated compounds linked to host of debilitating illnesses in both males and females
Though this particular study focused on young females, related research on PFOA and other perfluorinated compounds has revealed that the pervasive class of chemicals is also damaging to males. According to carefully documented research compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), perfluorinated compounds are demonstrably toxic to every single organ and system of the body.
"PFOA causes toxicity to virtually every organ or system tested, including the brain, pituitary, adrenal gland, thyroid, ovary, male reproductive tract, immune system and kidney," explains EWG in a 2003 report that investigated false claims made by DuPont, a major manufacturer of PFOA. "PFOA also causes mammary, testicular, pancreatic and liver tumors. Effects on the ovary, pituitary, kidney, spleen and seminal vesicles were affected by PFOA at or below doses where liver effects were observed."
Adding to the toxic burden of perfluorinated compounds is the fact that they are incredibly persistent, meaning that they do not break down very quickly in either the environment or human tissue. What this means, of course, is that the constant and perpetual release of these harmful chemicals is causing residual damage that is getting progressively worse over time.
"PFCs break down very slowly in the environment and are often characterized as persistent," explains a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) report. "PFCs are similar to other persistent chemicals, because the half-life, or the amount of time it takes for 50% of the chemical to leave the human body, for some of these chemicals, is several years."
"This slow elimination time makes it difficult to determine how changes in lifestyle, diet, or other exposure-related factors influence blood levels."