Early onset of puberty

Breast development marks the onset of puberty for a girl.

Early onset of puberty in girls is a growing public health problem because research suggests that girls who reach puberty earlier are more likely to develop breast and uterine cancer later in life. USA's National Institute of Health, NIH, funded a study, which was part of a larger study on environmental factors and the relationship to breast cancer. 

The onset of puberty is marked by breast development. Ten percent of white American girls reach puberty by the age of seven, according to an American study published in Pediatrics, compared to only five percent in a similar study in the early 1990s. Black and Latino girls continue, on average, to mature faster than white girls and almost 25 percent of black girls and 15 percent Latino girls enter puberty at the age of seven. The cause is probably a combination of factors, according to the researchers, including the childhood obesity epidemic, and environmental toxins. 

Dr. Frank Biro, MD, lead author of the study and Director of Adolescent Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and his team, explored the breast development of more than 12,000 girls aged 6-8 in three of America's major cities, New York, Cincinnati and San Francisco. 

There is another aspect to the environmental toxins that are thought to cause early breast development and cancer later in life. Female hormones are activated during puberty, but a fetus is exposed to chemical compounds that have a similar biochemical structure and effect as that of female hormones. A fetus therefore affected by these estrogenic substances in the womb. Is it possible that this exposure can have an effect on weight later in life and the early onset of puberty? 

Long before a woman becomes pregnant, it is important to avoid chemicals that contribute to this health risk. No easy task when most of household items do not come with a full list of ingredients. 
As consumers, we know too little about the ingredients in the products we buy. And if we are provided with the ingredients, it is still difficult to know which ones are safe. We are responsible for our health and we have the right to know what we eat, rub onto bodies and inhale.

One of the most important questions we can ask our politicians is, will you give me the right to know?