Premature Puberty… What Causes It?

Have you noticed that kids are entering puberty earlier and earlier? What is causing this change? Some new research is yielding interesting connections.

Preschool Puberty, and a Search for the Causes

“Parents often think their children grow up too quickly, but few are prepared for the problem that Dr. Michael Dedekian and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School reported recently. At the annual Pediatric Academic Society meeting in May in San Francisco, they presented a report that described how a preschool-age girl, and then her kindergarten-age brother, mysteriously began growing pubic hair. These cases were not isolated; in 2004, pediatric endocrinologists from San Diego reported a similar cluster of five children. It turns out that there have been clusters of cases in which children have prematurely developed signs of puberty, outbreaks similar to epidemics of influenza or environmental poisonings. In 1979, the medical journal The Lancet described an outbreak of breast enlargement among hundreds of Italian schoolchildren, probably caused by estrogen contamination of beef and poultry. Similar epidemics in Puerto Rico and Haiti were tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 1980s. Increasingly though the science is still far from definitive and the precise number of such cases is highly speculative some physicians worry that children are at higher risk of early puberty as a result of the increasing prevalence of certain drugs, cosmetics and environmental contaminants, called endocrine disruptors, that can cause breast growth, pubic hair development and other symptoms of puberty.”

Hormones and additives in our food have been slowly increasing the onset of puberty. What are the long term effects? I would imagine that they are not good! Again, we need to be aware of what we, and our children eat and drink… as there can be long term consequences to contamination of our food!

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