EWG News and Analysis

The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>

Preschool puberty from cometics, drugs

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today the New York Times reports some disturbing news about certain drugs and cosmetics causing preschoolers to go into puberty. In one case, a girl and her brother--whose father had been using a testosterone skin cream--started growing pubic hair just from skin contact with their father. Her brother also developed some aggressive behavior problems. The article cites some 1998 cases of early breast development in young girls brought on by a shampoo which contained estrogen and placental extract.

What does the FDA have to say about this? The FDA spokesperson told the Times that FDA was “aware of some reports describing premature sexual development” and that “there is no reason for consumers to be concerned.” And at this time “placental materials are neither prohibited by cosmetic regulations nor restricted” by the FDA.

Robert Cooper, chief of endocrinology at the reproductive toxicology division of the EPA suggests that conflicts of interest on advisory panels have hampered the development of adequate testing measures for these endocrine disruptors in consumer products:

In 1996, Congress directed the E.P.A. to develop a comprehensive screening program for possible endocrine disruptors within three years. Dr. Cooper says no such program has begun operation, a failure he attributed largely to stonewalling by chemical industry representatives who serve on an advisory committee for the program. Now the proposed rollout is December 2007, but Dr. Cooper said, “They may be dreaming.” Critics cite the program’s high potential costs and lack of reliable laboratory tests.

Full article


Key Issues: 

comments powered by Disqus