Chemicals in Shampoo and toothpaste linked to early puberty


The researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have conducted a study revealing the harmful aspect of using shampoos and toothpaste. The study states that many conventional soaps, shampoo, and toothpaste products are loaded with endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs. These chemicals damage hormones in developing children.

The study found that the young girls who are reaching adolescence much earlier than normal are an outcome of exposure to these EDCs. Additionally, the study also found that the boys are likewise experiencing a decrease in testosterone levels due to the use of such contaminated products.

The study was printed in the Journal Human Reproduction. The paper was compiled with information from the Centre for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS). They followed 338 children from pre-birth into adolescence to observe the impact of varied environmental exposures.

The researchers observed that the regular age of puberty among children is gradually decreasing, over the past 20 years. The major reason behind the problem is the personal care products that hold chemicals, affecting the normal hormone expression.

Kim Harley, the study’s lead author and an associate adjunct professor in Berkeley’s School of Public Health stated that some of the things we put on our bodies, unknowingly, get into our bodies.

It is because we breathe them in, unintentionally ingest them, or they pass through the pores in our skin. It is essential to recognize how these chemicals are affecting our health.

The average age for girls reaching puberty is normally around 11. The contact to EDCs, in personal care products, is bringing that down to about eight or even earlier. Researchers define this negative phenomenon as “precocious” puberty. It is known to increase the likelihood of young girls engaging in risky behavior, causing social troubles.

The common EDCs that cause the problem include parabens, phthalates, and phenols. These three common chemicals mimic hormones in the human body. Adolescent youth of both sexes become mature far too early by using these chemical laden products.

Harley further added that more research is required to investigate the problem thoroughly. However, people should be conscious of these chemicals and their disturbing effects on the hormones in our bodies.

This study also demonstrates that EDCs can damage the hormones of babies, in the womb of their mothers. It means that even if children are not directly exposed, these chemicals are still passing down to their body via mothers.

EDCs have also been associated with another dangerous phenomenon like autism in children.

A team of researchers, from some of the top schools in the country, looked at urine and blood samples from 175 pregnant women. They followed them for up to five years and found that prenatal exposure to EDCs enhances autistic behavioral traits in children. The problem begins in the womb and extends through the early childhood of the kid.

The researchers found an average of 44 different EDCs in each of the pregnant women. It revealed that these chemicals are equally prominent in the environment as well as in consumer care products.

These chemicals include brominated flame retardants from furniture; perfluorooctane, a coolant chemical; and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, an insecticide chemical used in conventional agriculture.

L.J. Devon stated that the rate of autism, in the United States, has increased by 78 percent between 2002 and 2012. This is because the Americans are unaware of the consequence that these chemicals have on the human body, particularly on the developing minds.

Note that boys are four times more likely to develop autism than girls. Thus, the researchers suggest that some key hormones, controlling male brain growth, are being disturbed by these chemicals.


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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.


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