Monday, October 1, 2007

Early Risk of Puberty for Girls

I usually don't put an entire article on one post, but as a teacher I have thought this for years (and have seen it in my former students). I also think the rise in ADD in children has more to do with the onset of puberty than anything else (imagine a 7 year old acting like a 13 year old with puberty and you see the similarities). I've always considered myself fortunate that my menstrual time did not come until I was 14. I was able to love to play and be a child for a long time.

http://articles. sites/articles/ archive/2007/ 10/06/puberty- at-8-g
irls-earlier- puberty-puts- them-at-higher- risk-for- cancer.aspx

Girls in the United States are reaching puberty at very early ages,
increasing their risk of breast cancer, social problems, and emotional

While the biological signs of female puberty -- menstruation, breast
development, and growth of pubic and underarm hair -- typically occurred
around 13 years of age or older just decades ago, today girls as young as 8
are increasingly showing these signs.

African-American girls are particularly vulnerable to early puberty.

Aside from the social and emotional implications, early puberty exposes
girls to more estrogen, which increases their risk of breast cancer because
the disease thrives on estrogen.

According to biologist Sandra Steingraber, the author of the report titled
"The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know, What We Need to
Know," "The data indicates that if you get your first period before age 12,
your risk of breast cancer is 50 percent higher than if you get it at age

"For every year we could delay a girl's first menstrual period,” she says,
“we could prevent thousands of breast cancers."

Theories behind what is causing the early-puberty trend abound, but the
actual causes are not known. Potential causes noted in the paper include:

a.. Rising childhood obesity rates and inactivity
b.. Formula-feeding of infants
c.. Excessive TV viewing and media use
d.. Family stress
e.. Exposure to environmental chemicals
Early puberty is likely an “ecological disorder,” according to Steingraber,
that’s being caused by a number of environmental factors.

The Breast Cancer Fund, “The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We
Know, What We Need to Know”

Chicago Tribune September 16, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comments:
It is becoming increasingly common for young children, even 5- and
6-year-olds, to go through precocious puberty (aka early sexual
development) . The introduction of this report even states that studies have
found girls as young as 2 years old entering puberty!

This is clearly a multi-faceted problem, but I believe one of its main
causes stems from your environmental exposure to a whole slew of
endocrine-disruptin g chemicals.

These man-made chemicals affect your hormones, which control
development and function in your body. There is mounting evidence that they
can cause harm in the development of fetuses and children, who are
particularly sensitive to the chemicals because they have not yet developed
the protective mechanisms present in adult bodies.

If you think you and your children are not exposed to endocrine
disrupters, think again. They’re commonly found in many household products
and cosmetics, including:

a.. Bovine growth hormones commonly added to commercial dairy
b.. Soy foods, which are loaded with hormone-like substances
c.. Bisphenol A, commonly used in many plastics such as baby
bottles, food-storage containers, and the lining of soda cans
d.. Phthalates, also commonly used in plastics
e.. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) -- better known as Teflon
I want to place special emphasis on soy. As many VitalVotes readers
have been pointing out, soy is present in virtually every processed food,
and Americans are eating it in unprecedented quantities in foods like
soymilk, soy burgers, and soy ice cream.

Meanwhile, some misinformed moms are still feeding their vulnerable
babies soy infant formula, which exposes their child to the equivalent of
five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day. For this same reason,
it’s also important for pregnant women to avoid eating soy, as a high
estrogenic environment in utero may increase their child’s subsequent breast
cancer risk.

Other environmental chemicals like PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product
of the pesticide DDT) may also be associated with early sexual development
in girls. Both DDE and PCBs are known to mimic, or interfere with, sex

What is even more troubling is that endocrine-disruptin g environmental
chemicals can actually increase your child’s risk of obesity, which in turn
may increase their likelihood of early puberty.

Early Puberty is Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Meanwhile, the same chemical exposures that are causing young kids to
enter puberty well before their time can also lead to increased infertility
and breast cancer rates down the road.

So if you have children, or are planning to, avoiding environmental
contaminants and soy foods as much as possible (unless they are in the
traditional, fermented form such as natto, miso, or tempeh), is a wise

Here are some measures you can take to protect yourself and your
children from common toxic substances that could cause them to go into
puberty years before they were designed to:

a.. Store your food in glass containers whenever possible, as it is
the most inert container you can use.
a.. Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health
food stores will have these available or you can search online for them.
a.. Buy and eat, as much as possible, locally grown, organic foods
that do not contain pesticides and added hormones.
a.. Avoid processed foods, which are loaded with soy and other
unsavory ingredients.
a.. Switch to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo,
toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. Use the same sources as above
for these, either your local health food store or you can search online.
Finally, I encourage everyone with children or grandchildren to review
Theo Colburn’s Our Stolen Future, which is one of the BEST resources on this

1 comment:

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