Chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products may, according to a new report, cause girls to reach puberty early.
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Researchers from The University of California at Berkeley recently conducted a study published in the journal Human Reproductive determine how early environmental exposures affect children's development.
"Over the last 20 years, studies have shown that girls and possibly boys have experienced puberty at an ever younger age," the team said in a statement. "This is worrying news as adolescence in adolescence has been associated with increased risk of mental illness, breast and ovarian cancer in girls, and testicular cancer in boys."
For their assessment, they recruited pregnant women who lived in the farm. They worked mainly in Latino communities in Salinas Valley, California, between 1
After analyzing the results, they found daughters of mothers who had puberty during pregnancy experienced higher levels of diethyl phthalate and triclosan in their bodies at younger ages.
In fact, they said that each time the levels of diethyl phthalate and triclosan in mother's urine doubled, the timing of developmental milestones in girls shifted about a month earlier. In boys, they have not observed the same results.
Diethyl phthalate, a stabilizer, is commonly used in perfumes and cosmetics. Triclosan is used in some toothpastes.
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"We know that some of the things we put into our bodies get into our bodies, either because they go through our skin, or when we inhale them, or when we inadvertently ingest them," co-author Kim Harley said. "We need to know how these chemicals affect our health."
The researchers found that many of these chemicals were found in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, perfumes, and impaired rat reproductive ability.
However, the Berkeley study is one of the few that has studied how chemicals affect humans.
"We wanted to know what impact exposure has on these chemicals during certain critical development periods that occur before birth and during puberty," Harley said.
As scientists continue their research, they advise adults to limit their exposure to chemicals.
"Although more research is needed," Harley admitted, "one should know that chemicals are contained in personal care products that can disrupt the hormones in our body."
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