Exposure to environmental chemicals could trigger early menopause in women, according to the results of a new study.
Higher levels of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in the body are linked to menopause in women between the ages of 42 and 64.
PFCs are contained in many household products, including furniture, paints, carpets, food containers and clothing.
Sarah Knox, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, said that this was the largest study ever study investigating the effects of PFCs on women.
"Our data shows that after controlling for age, women of perimenopausal and menopausal age in this large population are more likely to have experienced menopause if they have higher serum concentrations of PFCs than their counterparts with lower levels."
According to NHS Choices, the average age for a British women to reach the menopause is 52. If menopause starts before the age of 45, it is classed as premature - a condition which affects one per cent of those under the age of 40 and 0.1 per cent under the age of 30.