Girls are hitting puberty at an increasingly younger age. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that about 15 percent of girls studied had already begun breast development by age seven. The median age for breast development has dropped from age 10.9 years in 1991 to 9.9 years in 2006.
What makes young girls mature? Hormones. Yet, hormone disruptors are unfortunately all around them. Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals like flame retardants found on furniture and electronics, phthalates and BPA found in plastics and vinyl, and the herbicide atrazine found on non-organic produce could all be contributing to this early maturation.
Hormone disruptors interfere with normal hormone function. Some of these chemicals have been confirmed in human studies to interfere with male sexual development, but the research in humans is only just beginning. In fact, a recent study has found for the first time that daily exposure to BPAS increased levels of testosterone in the blood of men. Another human study found that BPA may decrease the quality and concentration of sperm in male humans. Hopefully more research will expose the dangers of endocrine disruptors in females, too.
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