Chemicals found in make-up, hairspray and food packaging are causing women to hit the menopause early, researchers warn.
Those exposed to high doses have been found to go through the change almost two and a half years before other women. And in some cases, these chemicals may be causing women to stop having periods 15 years too soon, say scientists.
There is already a widespread concern over the potential health risks of pthalates, a group of chemicals found in plastics, cosmetics, household products and food packaging.
Recent studies have shown they may increase the risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity and there is even evidence they may feminise the brains of young boys.
Now American researchers say the chemicals are disrupting women’s reproductive systems, including their ovaries, and leading to early menopause.
An early menopause is linked to far higher rates of strokes, heart disease, bone problems and fatal brain haemorrhages.