PFAS Chemicals linked to delayed puberty in girls.

PFAS Chemicals linked to delayed puberty in girls.

Exposure to PFAS Chemicals Linked to Delayed Puberty in Girls


TUESDAY, Oct. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) – A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Cincinnati suggests that exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly found in everyday products, may delay puberty in girls. This groundbreaking research sheds light on the role of hormones in this delay, highlighting the potential long-term health implications for affected girls, including higher rates of breast cancer, kidney disease, and thyroid disease.

Puberty is a critical stage of development, and environmental exposures during this period have the potential for lasting effects. The study, which examined data from over 800 girls aged 6 to 8 years old, found that approximately 85% of the participants had measurable levels of PFAS. Additionally, researchers discovered evidence of decreased hormones consistent with the delayed onset of puberty. On average, girls with PFAS exposure experienced a delay of five to six months in puberty, with some girls experiencing even longer delays.

One possible explanation for the widespread exposure to PFAS is the release of these chemicals into the Ohio River, the primary source of drinking water in the Cincinnati area. A nearby DuPont plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, reportedly released PFAS into the river for several decades. PFAS were also present in firefighting foam, and a firefighting training ground near the river’s major water intakes further contributed to the exposure.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises questions about why it took so long to recognize the dangers of PFAS. As far back as the 1980s, chemists conducting studies reported on the chemical structure of PFAS and its similarities to other harmful substances. However, it has taken considerable time for PFAS to be recognized as a human toxin and for appropriate regulatory guidelines to be established.

One of the concerning aspects is that PFAS do not degrade naturally, making their removal from the environment a challenging task. Efforts toward environmental cleanup have begun, but they are costly and time-consuming. Scientists involved in this research highlight the need for stronger advocacy to push for regulatory changes and prompt action to address the health effects of PFAS.

As this study and others continue to shed light on the dangers of PFAS, it is crucial to inform the general population and healthcare community about the risks associated with these chemicals. Increased awareness and advocacy are necessary to ensure that regulatory guidelines are updated to protect public health.

Delaying puberty not only affects the immediate development of girls but also increases their vulnerability to long-term health issues. By understanding the links between environmental exposures and delayed puberty, we can work towards preventing adverse health outcomes and creating a safer and healthier environment for all.

More Information

For further information, please refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s resources on PFAS.

Source: University of Cincinnati, news release, Sept. 29, 2023

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