Exposure to cleaning chemicals linked with osteoporosis in women

By Shayna Brouker • Published: May 9th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Did your husband “forget” to do the dishes again? Tired of scrubbing the tub, doing the laundry and mopping that dirty kitchen floor? Now women have more arsenal for the next time they have to nag family members to pitch in with the chores. A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that exposure to perfluorinated chemicals, or P-F-Cs, can contribute to osteoarthritis. P-F-Cs are found in many cleaning products.

Interestingly, the Yale study of more than 4,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 84 did not find a similar link between exposure to these chemicals and osteoporosis in men.

It’s not the first research to unearth the adverse effects of such chemicals. Previous studies found that contact with P-F-Cs could contribute to a higher risk for premature menopause in women, higher levels of bad cholesterol in men and women, and decreased effectiveness of vaccinations in children. It’s not clear why these substances affect women more, but it probably has something to do with their profound influence on hormones.

And it’s hard to avoid the chemicals because they lurk virtually everywhere in our environment — including in food packaging, cookware, bedding, upholstery and clothes, like waterproof rain gear and stain shields. P-F-Cs accumulate in our bodies and remain there for years.

But you can take steps to be a smart shopper and steer clear of products with oily packaging, like pizza boxes and microwaveable popcorn bags. Pass up personal care products with fluoro or perfluoro in the label. Don’t use cookware with Teflon coating, or take care not to let it heat above four hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Become a meticulous label-reader and you could cut down on your exposure to these dangerous chemicals. Oh, and have hubby do the dishes.