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Puberty is tough enough without BPA

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Special to Enviroblog by Alex Formuzis, EWG Communications Director

Every child's journey through puberty is different, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone describe the experience as "wonderful," "awesome" or "let's play two!"

A high-pitched, crackling voice, acne, a disproportionately large head and generally looking like a lurch could describe my own bout with the inevitable.

These days, puberty is starting earlier And today, more and more young people are experiencing signs of puberty at earlier ages, particularly among girls. Some are beginning to develop breasts, pubic hair and see the first signs of their period as early as 6 years old. 6!! While most experts claim the cause is genetic, there is a growing body of science connecting these early physical and sexual changes to the environment: meaning a link between early, onset puberty and exposure to man-made pollutants.

New study shows link between BPA exposure and early puberty Last week, a new study from researchers at North Carolina State University and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) discovered a connection between exposure to BPA and early puberty and reproductive health problems with female lab rats who were given doses of the chemical "equivalent to or below the dose that has been thought not to produce any adverse effects," [Science Daily, June 18, 2009].

According to the study's news release:

The study found that female rats exposed to a BPA dose of 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (µg /kg) in their first four days of life experienced early onset of puberty. Female rats exposed to 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) during their first four days of life developed significant ovarian malformations and premature loss of their estrus cycle.

"The 50 mg/kg level is important," says lead researcher Dr. Heather Patisaul, "because it is equivalent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 'Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level' for BPA. So, by definition, we should not have seen significant effects at or below this level, but we did."

BPA is linked to an increasing number of diseases So, in just the last two years, we've seen independent research linking BPA to breast cancer, diabetes, infertility and now early puberty and certain reproductive problems in females.

I continue to wait for research linking BPA to something good, like increased IQ, longer life spans, lower blood pressure and the sudden ability to 'get' algebra.

The abstract of the study is published online at the Biology of Reproduction.

[Thanks to yellowblade67 and Flickr for the photo]

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