Thursday, September 09, 2010

New Father is concerned about Medical Study

Dear USA Congressmen, US Food and Drug Administration and President Obama,

I am a new father. My daughter is only 4 months old and this report on increasingly lower age of puberty in girls concerns me and my family. Look into the chemicals in our food and get this cleaned up PDQ.

Kevin Stoda

p.s. I am responding to this heads up by Mom’s Rising on the study and growth of toxics in our food supply.

Dear Kevin,

I had to do a double take last month when I read an article about new research in the Journal of Pediatrics showing that more than one in ten girls are starting to develop breasts by age seven, with even higher rates in some communities. [1]
Seven year old girls should be able to focus on playing with friends and learning to read, not having to deal with the complex physical and mental effects of puberty.
Tell Congress to protect the healthy childhoods of America’s children by co-sponsoring an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
What does updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) have to do with preventing early onset of puberty?
One of the many contributing factors to the rise in early puberty is that young children are exposed to dozens of potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis. In fact, endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that mimic and interfere with hormones, show up in a wide variety of everyday items including: household cleaners, air fresheners, cosmetics, canned foods, and school supplies. These endocrine disruptors can cause the early onset of puberty. [2]
Updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is crucial to the health of our kids because, currently TSCA lacks a requirement that chemicals be tested to assess their ability to disrupt hormones. This means that many of the chemicals we encounter every day have never been tested for safety. In fact, since the passage of TSCA in 1976, the EPA has required testing of less than 1 percent of the chemicals in commerce!
The TSCA update would require chemical manufacturers to provide basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for staying in or entering the marketplace. It would also, for the first time, make that information public. [3]

It’s time for us to take action and support updating TSCA. Our daughters deserve better! The physical and mental ramifications of early puberty are substantial. Girls who begin puberty at an early age are more likely to experience low self esteem, poor body image, and depression. Physical side effects include an increased risk for breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and elevated blood pressure.

This September, our children need more than just new school supplies: They need new toxics legislation to protect their growing bodies.

Tell your members of Congress to co-sponsor an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)!
Early puberty is just one of the many frightening health effects which can be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. Our broken chemical screening system also puts our families at risk for cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more.

We can’t protect our kids and families from toxics without updating legislation like the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Please forward this email message on to your friends and families so they can take action too.
Here’s that action link again so you have it handy:
Together we are a powerful force for families,
Kristin, Claire, Joan, Anita, Mary, and the whole MomsRising Team

[1] “Some girls’ puberty age still falling, study suggests”:
[2] “Pubertal Assessment Method and Baseline Characteristics in a Mixed Longitudinal Study of Girls”:
[3] “Recent Findings on Early Puberty in Girls Highlight Urgent Need for New Chemicals Policy”:


Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Some Girls’ Puberty Age Still Falling
by Shari Roan

Los Angeles Times

August 9, 2010,0,1961792.story

More than a decade after researchers found that some American girls were beginning puberty as young as 7, new data show that the average age for whites and Latinas may still be in flux.

Doctors and parents were stunned when research published more than a decade ago found American girls were beginning puberty at much younger ages, some as early as 7. A new study released Sunday suggests the average age at which puberty begins may still be falling for white and Latina girls.

According to the paper, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, almost 25% of African American girls have reached a stage of breast development marking the onset of puberty by age 7, as had almost 15% of Latina girls and more than 10% of white girls.

Those percentages are significantly higher than in 1997, when a landmark study first reported that girls were beginning puberty much younger than they had in the mid-20th century. In that study, the rate of girls who had begun puberty at age 7 was, on average, 5% for whites, compared with 10.4% in the new study.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

In other words, the average age of puberty onset still appears to be in flux.

“In 1997, people said, ‘That can’t be right; there must be something wrong with the study,’ ” said Dr. Frank M. Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the lead author of the new study. “But the average age is going down even further.”

Biro’s study included 1,238 girls ages 6 to 8 who lived in one of three regions: Cincinnati, East Harlem, N.Y., or San Francisco. Puberty was determined by two examiners who worked independently to assess the girls’ breast development. By age 8, 27% of the girls had begun puberty: 18.3% of whites, 42.9% of blacks and 30.9% of Latinas.

Compared with data from the 1997 study, the age at which puberty begins did not fall for African American girls, although they still mature at younger ages than white or Latina girls. It’s not clear why there was no change for black girls. “Perhaps black girls have approached a biologic minimum,” Biro said.

Even for white and Latina girls, it is too early to declare that puberty age is still falling, said Dr. Joyce Lee, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in the study. The methodology used in the new study differs somewhat from the one in 1997, making direct comparisons difficult, she said.

But, she added, “it’s incredible the difference you see between the two studies.”

There are numerous potential explanations for why puberty is starting earlier. Chief among them is the increase in average body weight among children over the last three decades, Lee said. Excess body weight, especially body fat, is thought to increase the blood levels of estrogens that promote breast development. Earlier studies, including one by Lee, have linked early puberty to higher body mass index as far back as the toddler years.

But other studies suggest that body fat may not be the only cause. A Danish study released last year in the journal Pediatrics found puberty occurring earlier in children regardless of body mass index at age 7. Factors may include a diet that is increasingly high in sugar and fat, declining physical activity and exposure to endocrine disrupters, chemicals in the environment that act on hormones.

“Kids today are exposed to plastic much more than they were 10 or 20 years ago,” Lee said.

Biro said that his study would continue to follow the girls’ development, and that blood and urine samples were being collected to look at biomarkers that reflect potential environmental exposures.

Early development in girls is not inconsequential. Studies have linked it to various health risks including a poor body image, reduced self-esteem, higher rates of eating problems, depression and earlier onset of sexual activity. Early maturation in a large population of girls may also affect future breast cancer rates. Studies have linked a younger age at the first menstrual period to a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.

Parents may be able to influence the timing of puberty, Biro said, through such lifestyle decisions as encouraging a healthful diet and physical activity, and avoiding lotions, shampoos and other products for children and babies that contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disrupters.

“For younger children and the tweens, they should probably live a little bit greener,” Biro said. “People could eat together as families — not avoiding fast food, but minimizing it to once a week — and families could engage in regular physical activity.”
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

4:24 AM  

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