Chemicals Tied to Early Puberty

in Healthy Home, Indoor Allergies
Published: September 1, 2010

Early PubertyIf you or your child have asthma or allergies you have probably already been trying to reduce your exposure to chemicals in your home. It turns out that you may be doing yourselves more of a favour than you know.

A study recently published in the American Journal of Pediatrics, shows that chemicals that we are typically exposed to on a day-to-day basis and the average increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) in young girls is sending them into early puberty. The study, published in August 2010, shows that girls as young as 7 years old are developing breast tissue.

Dr. Frank Biro, the lead researcher in the study, explains that reaching puberty too early is cause for concern, both for the child’s psychological health (receiving unwanted attention from the opposite sex) and physical health. The study was conducted through the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers and established that girls who reach puberty at an earlier age than average are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

Preventing exposure to certain chemicals, also known as endocrine disruptors, is key. The chemicals, such as phthalates, are commonly found in cosmetics, personal care products, processed foods and even in some plastic toys.

Since these chemicals mimic hormones that we produce on our own, over-exposure to them may trigger the beginning of puberty before nature means it to happen.

Living green is the simple solution, explains Dr. Biro. Avoiding these chemicals (as much as possible), eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of exercise can help young girls reach puberty at the typical age.

Living green is a way of life that makes sense for people with asthma and allergies, and here we can see the direct positive consequences as well for young girls as they mature.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Cente