New U.S. research has linked air pollution to yet another health concern, finding that poor air quality could be affecting teenage girls’ menstrual cycles.
Carried out by Boston University School of Medicine, the new study gathered data from 34,832 women taking part in the large-scale Nurses’ Health Study 2, which looked at both the health and location of the participants.
The results showed that participants’ exposure to air pollution during high school was linked with a slightly increased chance of irregular menstrual cycles, and a longer time for cycles to become regular in high school and early adulthood.
Previous studies have already suggested that air pollution can have a negative effect on hormonal activity, potentially causing infertility, metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome.
However, this study is the first to show that exposure to air pollution among teenage girls (ages 14-18) is associated with the regularity of the menstrual cycle, which responds to hormone regulation.
Air pollution has also been linked to a variety of other health problems, including asthma in children, high blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and even disrupted sleep.
A report published near the end of 2017 from the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency (EEA) also suggested that air pollution causes more than 500,000 premature deaths across Europe each year despite attempts to improve air quality, while a 2015 report found that pollution killed nine million people in 2015.
The findings can be found published online in the journal Human Reproduction.