The study claims to be the first to show that exposure to air pollution among teenage girls (ages 14-18) is linked to slightly increased chances of menstrual irregularity and longer time to achieve such regularity in high school and early adulthood.
Study author Shruthi Mahalingaiah said, "While exposure to air pollution have been linked to cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, this study suggests that there may be other systems, such as the reproductive endocrine system, which are also affected".
The menstrual cycle is responsive to hormonal regulation and particulate matter of air pollution has demonstrated hormonal activity.
The researchers used health and location data gathered in the Nurses' Health Study 2 plus air pollution exposure metrics from the EPA air quality monitoring system to understand a participants' exposure during a particular time window.
They found exposure to air pollution in during high school was correlated with menstrual cycle irregularity.
"Implications on human disease may come through reducing emissions on a global and individual level," Mahalingaiah added.
The findings appear in the journal Human Reproduction.
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