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Exposure to household chemicals linked to earlier puberty in girls

Exposure to household chemicals linked to earlier puberty in girls
Health
The study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and published in the journal Human Reproduction, shows an association betweenphthalates, parabens and phenols and precocious puberty in girls.

Phthalates are used as fixing agents in scented productslike deodorants and perfumes, and to prevent cracking in nail polish. They are also common in plastic packaging. Parabens are a family of compounds that are widely used as preservatives. Meanwhile, phenols, notably triclosan and benzophenone, are used to enhance the durability of some products and as antimicrobial agents.

This latest research shows that girls prenatally exposed to these compounds are more likely to experience earlier puberty, and this risk is particularly high for the daughters of mothers exposed to diethyl phthalate and parabens.

The three compounds cited above were present in 90 percent of samples, with the exception of triclosan (a type of phenol) which was detected in 73 percent of samples collected from expectant mothers.

The researchers found that higher concentrationsof diethyl phthalate and triclosan in prenatal urine was associated with changes in the timing of children s development milestones. In daughters it was associated with early appearance of pubic hair, a month and three weeks earlier than a typical baseline, with every doubling of the concentration. Doubling of the levels of triclosan were associated with menstruation a month earlier than average.

Previous research on rats has shown thatphenols, parabens and phthalates are endocrine disruptors that can negatively affect the functioning of hormones in the body. This study further highlights the potential impactthat these chemicals can have on the natural development of children.
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