Do shampoos and soaps cause early puberty?
In recent years, many girls have been reaching puberty far earlier than the previous generations. This is termed as ‘precocious puberty’. It can be termed ‘precocious puberty’ if any of the following milestones occur before 7 or 8 years of age - breast development, menstruation, pubic or underarm hair development, Acne, mature body odor and rapid height growth.
Causes of precocious puberty
While precocious puberty can be attributed to various factors such as being overweight, chemical-laden foods, foods containing antibiotics and so on, another key factor could be the chemicals in soaps, shampoos and other such cosmetics.
The US study
A U.S. study reveals that girls who were exposed while in the womb to chemicals commonly found in toothpaste, makeup, soap and other Personal Care products could reach puberty much earlier than their peers without such exposure.
The CHAMACOS study was conducted on pregnant Women who lived in the agricultural area of Central California's Salinas Valley between 1999 and 2000. The concentrations of phthalates, parabens and phenols in urine samples taken from mothers were measured twice during their pregnancy and their children when they reached age 9.
When tested, it was found that in 90% of the urine samples of both mothers and children had a good concentration of all three classes of chemicals, phthalates, parabens and phenols. Triclosan was found in 70% of samples.
The findings were that whenever the concentrations of diethyl phthalate and triclosan in the mother's urine had doubled, the developmental milestones in girls shifted about one month earlier. Besides this, girls found with higher concentrations of parabens in their urine at nine attained puberty at younger ages.