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Daily News Archive
From February 16, 2001

Early Onset of Puberty Linked to Exposure to Chemical Pollutant

A panel of scientific experts has determined that chemical pollutants in the environment are causing young girls to develop secondary sexual characteristics as much as two years earlier than previously recorded. The Environmental News Network reported on the 1997 study, which was discussed in a letter to the editor in Pediatrics (vol. 106, pgs. 622-623), noted that the scientists responsible for the study examined 17,000 individuals. One of the authors, Marcia Herman-Giddens, pointed out that some of the girls in the study begin exhibiting signs of puberty as young as age two. <a href=" http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2001/02/02152001/earlypuberty_41939.asp"> Click here</a> to read the ENN article.

The chemical industry has steadfastly denied that their products are contributing to this phenomenon. Lab experiments with mice and rats demonstrate that the rate of sexual development is associated with pre-natal and post-natal chemical contamination. Data on human exposure has also documented widespread exposure to some of the same contaminants that are producing effects in lab animals. Human studies show the same association between exposure to certain chemicals and changes in the rate of sexual development.

Pete Myers, one of the authors of "Our Stolen Future" along with Theo Colborn and Dianne Dumanoski, notes "There is no question that everyone in America has been
exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals in the womb at varying levels. The amount of exposure depends on lifestyle, where we live, what we eat. Some of us have had more, some of us have had less, but none of us have had no exposure." Theo Colburn is one of the featured speakers at Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP's 19th National Pesticide Forum, where she will discuss the effects of environmental contaminants on disruption of the hormonal system.