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Synthetic Chemicals May Delay Puberty In Girls: Study

Exposure to PFAS, a group of synthetic chemicals may delay puberty in girls, a new study has shown. According to the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, PFAS chemicals are generally found in cleaning products, water-resistant fabrics, such as rain jackets, umbrellas, tents, and nonstick cookware etc.

“The delay of puberty in girls can lead to negative long-term health outcomes, including a higher incidence of breast cancer, renal disease and thyroid disease,” said corresponding author of the study Susan Pinney, PhD.

“Environmental exposures during puberty, not just to PFAS, but anything, have more of a potential for a long-term health effect. What these have done is extended the window of susceptibility, and it makes them more vulnerable for a longer period of time,” she added.

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To conduct this study, researchers of the University of Cincinnati, US, enrolled 823 girls of age six to eight years and followed them with exams every six to 12 months to see when they experienced the first signs of breast development and pubic hair.

The team found that 85 per cent of the girls had measurable levels of PFAS and over 99 per cent of the girls had measurable levels of PFOA, one of the most important of the PFAS.

“The study found that in girls with PFAS exposure puberty is delayed five or six months on average but there will be some girls where it’s delayed a lot more and others that it wasn’t delayed at all but we are especially concerned about the girls at the top end of the spectrum where it’s delayed more,” said Pinney.

“It’s taken a very long time for us to recognise it as a human toxin. Meanwhile, all of these toxins got into our environment, and it’s going to take a long time before they leave,” she added.

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