Researchers at Washington University, Missouri, say that a group of chemicals that are already thought to increase the risk of cancer, obesity and diabetes, can also increase the chances of early menopause.
The chemicals, known as phthalates, are used in the manufacture of hair sprays, food packaging and cosmetics. A number of studies have shown the chemicals to increase the risk of cancers and diabetes and also induce changes to the brains of young boys, making them more feminine.
Now researchers at Washington University, who tested the urine samples of more than 5,700 women, found that high levels of phthalates can trigger menopause two and a half years early while it may also stop women from having periods 15 years sooner than normal.
"We don't know yet if some of them are going through it one year earlier or some are going through it 15 years earlier. Early menopause has a lot of impact on your health. We absolutely think these chemicals have the potential to affect ovarian function and human reproduction. There's a lot that we don't know at this point, our research is still preliminary, but it's enough to suggest it is having a detrimental impact in the long term", lead researcher Dr Natalia Grindler said.