Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Effects of Organochlorine Compounds on Menstrual Cycles

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Effects of Organochlorine Compounds on Menstrual Cycles

Article excerpt

Windham GC, Lee D, Mitchell P, Anderson M, Petreas M, Lasley B. 2005. Exposure to organochlorine compounds and effects on ovarian function. Epidemiology 16:182-190.

Over the past 20-30 years, environmental health scientists have expressed increasing concern about endocrine disruptors, chemicals that appear to disrupt hormonal activity in humans and animals. Research has shown that women exposed at various life stages to endocrine disruptors may have increased risk of menstrual cycle irregularities, infertility, endometriosis, autoimmune disorders, and cancers of the reproductive system. Now NIEHS grantee Gayle C. Windham of the Department of Health Services in Oakland, California, and colleagues have found that the pesticide DDT and its metabolite DDE were associated with menstrual length differences in a population of immigrant women from Southeast Asia.

DDT was one of the first chemicals to be shown to have adverse endocrine effects. In wild birds, especially those high on the food chain, DDT was linked with weakened eggshells, which caused large drops in the numbers of some species of raptors including the bald eagle. DDT was shown to interfere with the deposition of calcium as the developing egg passes through the bird's uterus. For this and other reasons, its use was banned in the United States in 1972.

The California researchers studied 50 Laotian women of reproductive age currently residing in the San Francisco Bay area. …

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