(Health Secrets Newsletter) The average age for girls reaching puberty is now 10 years, but as incredible as it seems, girls as young as 7 years old are developing breasts and undergoing other body changes that their mothers and grandmothers did not experience until a much older age. Why? One reason is Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical hormone disruptor found in plastics!
BPA is a colorless solid chemical compound that has two phenol chemical groups and is widely used to make polycarbonate polymers and epoxy resins used in the making of plastics. When these plastics are used for storage, such as those used to store food or personal care items, BPA leeches into the food or other item. Then it enters the human body where it mimics estrogen and can offset the delicate hormonal balance in the developing child. If these containers are heated, it’s even worse.
BPA is highly profitable
BPA has become so widespread that it is now found in the vast majority of plastics used commercially today. Most containers and plastic bags contain BPA, and it is even found in dollar bills, store receipts and toilet paper. Bottled water, which is often subjected to extreme temperatures, has an increased concentration of BPA in the water content. A majority of canned products contain BPA, because it is used as a liner for the cans. Microwavable food often comes in containers or bags containing BPA and is especially susceptible to leeching due to high temperatures.
The average age that girls begin puberty currently stands at around ten years – a drop of more than a year in a single generation. Notably, a century ago the average age for the onset of puberty in girls was 16. Early onset of puberty in girls can cause a number of problems later in life due to hormonal imbalance, including increased risk of breast cancer. Some studies have shown that risk of breast cancer is reduced by 7 percent for every year the onset of puberty is delayed.
Canada was the first country in the world to declare BPA to be a toxic substance that poses risks to human health and the environment. However, annual BPA sales have been estimated at $8 Billion and as history has shown us repeatedly, it is unlikely that the U.S. will take action anytime soon against such a highly profitable item. In fact, just recently the FDA announced that it would not ban BPA due to lack of evidence of harm.
BPA is not the only culprit
While BPA has been identified as a major cause of the early onset of puberty in young girls, there are others. Another class of compounds known as phthalates have been similarly found to disrupt hormone balance. Phthalates are a class of chemicals used as softeners, plasticizers and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) vinyl products, including children’s toys, decorating and building products, blood bags and solvents. Phthalates are also found in cosmetics, personal care products, wood finishes and insecticides.
Growth hormones found in abundance in meat and diary products are problematic too. These growth hormones which are used to fatten up cows and chickens, and increase dairy production are behind much of the links that studies have observed between meat and dairy consumption and the early onset of puberty in girls.
It is likely that soy foods and products made with soy also play a role in hormonal imbalance problems. Although soy is heavily promoted as a health food, it is almost always highly genetically modified. Soy also contains large amounts of estrogen and has been found to affect hormone balance.
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