Breathing Bad Air Linked to Irregular Menstrual Cycles in Teen Girls

August 08, 2018

Breathing Bad Air Linked to Irregular Menstrual Cycles in Teen Girls

Exposure to polluted air has been shown to have many negative impacts on a woman’s body, but for the first time scientists have also linked breathing bad air with menstrual issues in teens.

The study was carried out by Boston University School of Medicine and gathered data on almost 35 thousand women. The researchers used health, geographic data and EPA pollution readings to examine exposure during a specific window of time. They found exposure to air pollution in during high school was correlated with a slightly elevated risk of menstrual cycle irregularity.

"While air pollution exposures have been linked to cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, this study suggests there may be other systems, such as the reproductive endocrine system, that are affected as well," said study author Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah.

The menstrual cycle is responsive to hormonal regulation and this may be where air pollution comes into play. Previous research has suggested that air pollutants can have a negative effect on hormonal activity in both men and women.

Chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen and block male hormones have been found widely in indoor and outdoor air. Known as endocrine disruptors, these chemicals can be found in scented products such as perfumes, cleaning products, personal products as well as packaging, furniture, carpeting, adhesives and fuels.

Avoiding Pollution Exposure

While avoiding outdoor air pollution may be difficult we have more control over our indoor environments:

  • Reduce overall chemical use
  • Avoid artificially scented products
  • Use natural personal care and cleaning products
  • Improve home ventilation
  • Use an air purifier with HEPA filtration and activated carbon
  • Don’t allowing smoking inside your home
  • Be aware of the toxic off-gassing in new furniture, building materials and flooring


*The findings in the study mentioned appear in the journal Human Reproduction.


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