Cadmium exposure can cause several adverse health effects. Animal studies have also shown that cadmium exposure can affect menarche or menopause. However, data is limited in humans. We conducted a retrospective study to assess whether cadmium exposure was associated with different ages of menarche and menopause in a Chinese population. A total of 429 women living in control (n
= 137) and two cadmium-polluted areas (n
= 292) were included in this study. A total of 223 and 206 subjects were included in the analysis for menarche and menopause, respectively. The median menarche age of population living in the heavily cadmium-polluted area was significantly younger than those in the control area (14.0 vs. 15.0, p
< 0.01). Logistic regression showed that the odds ratio (OR) of early occurrence of menarche (<13 years) in the population living in the heavily polluted area and moderately polluted area was 3.7 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5–9.7) and 1.3 (95% CI: 0.7–2.6) compared with control, respectively. No significant difference was observed in the age of menopause in the population of these three areas. In conclusion, our data indicated that cadmium exposure may cause early menarche.
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