As we focus on the general and reproductive health of young adolescents, we can’t help but be concerned about the effects of environmental toxins on developing children. There is clear evidence that a variety of chemicals are entering our DNA and altering our health - in significant ways - like earlier puberty among girls.
What’s most difficult is that pretty much everything in our environment has been implicated because chemicals are used (for better or worse) everywhere: dirt, water, air, produce, drugs, fabrics, even soaps and shampoos. How are we supposed to reduce or eliminate things that are so ubiquitous? It’s enough to make any parent paranoid.
At a recent International conference addressing women’s health issues, physicians and scientists from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom addressed growing evidence that links exposure to toxic chemicals in food, water and air to major health threats - particularly among women and girls. Associated problems range from miscarriages to attention disorders, to cancers and early puberty. According to the lead author of the opinion statement that resulted from the conference, Dr. Gian Carlo Di Renzo, “We are drowning our world in untested and unsafe chemicals and the price we are paying in terms of our reproductive health is of serious concern.
Although we can’t possibly eliminate all of our exposures, we can certainly take steps that reduce the likelihood of early puberty. But if early puberty has already happened in your house, there are also steps you can take to reduce the physical and emotional consequences of early puberty.
This month’s downloadable “The Puberty Puzzle” provides you with a summary of the possible causes, suggested steps you can take, and resources for additional information. If you are looking for more detailed information, we highly recommend The New Puberty, by our friends, Dr. Louise Greenspan (pediatric endocrinologist) and Dr. Julie Deardorf (psychologist). They are both clinically involved in healthcare for young girls and they are engaged in essential research that is helping us answer important questions about puberty and longer term health for girls and women.
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