Pesticides and microplastics, after rising cases of precocious puberty


In last decades, cases of precocious puberty have increased dramatically. It affects one boy and one girl in 5,000 or 10,000, and in a much higher proportion than women (one boy for up to 20 girls). Pediatricians and endocrinologists detect this increase in their consultation, despite the fact that its true incidence is unknown due to the lack of research on this subject. If before the menstruation he arrived around 12 and 13, the doctors see how he does now at 10 or 11. There is various factors who are behind this phenomenon. Although traditionally this phenomenon was only associated with being overweight, there is growing evidence that substances such as microplastics, chemicals or pesticides also alter hormonal processes.

Researchers from the University of Granada studied the association between childhood exposure For pesticides and advancing puberty. Spain, research warns, is the the biggest consumer of pesticides in the EU, which are used in the conventional fruit and vegetable production.

“We collected urine in 606 girls and 933 boys, between 7 and 11 years old, and we have studied the presence of these chemicals. We have acquired striking results: having higher concentrations is associated with a higher likelihood of early development,” points Nicholas Olea, Professor of Medicine at the University of Granada and one of the researchers. In the case of girls, Precocious puberty is considered breast growth, nail first period or the pubic or armpit hair to 8 years. In boys, consider genital growth or pubic or armpit hair at 9 o’clock.

This research is a new episode of the multidisciplinary group Childhood and Environment (Inma), established in Asturias, Guipúzcoa, Sabadell, Menorca, Valencia and Granada, and which has been studying, since the year 2000, the role of environmental pollutants during pregnancy and in early life, as well as its effects on the growth and development of the child. This latter work was recently discussed in the International Meeting on Environmental Health and Diseases celebrated in the HM Hospital Nou Delfos from Barcelona.

Organic products

The new episode of Inma establishes a “association” between pesticides and precocious puberty, which Olea says has “consequences” especially for girls, who suffer from psychological processes of fear, shame, maladjustment And growth disorders. “In principle, it is not convenient for them to develop too early. And we know that Whoever eats organic urine less pesticides, we therefore recommend that the consumption of unconventional foods have no waste of pesticides”, points out this doctor.

so precise Carmen Freire, researcher at the Biosanitary Research Institute of Granada and the Inma study, these results “establish an association” between pesticides and precocious puberty, although “it would be necessary that other studies carried out in different places or d ‘other populations corroborate’ the results.

The same researcher also points out that there are several studies with “Objective data” that “clearly” show how puberty is progressing in recent decades, especially in girls. “We suspect there are several causes, such as feed or the social factors. And now we see that exposure to contaminants can play a role.”

“We eat plastic”

the endocrine Carmen Valls Llobet guarantees that precocious puberty is also linked to derivatives of plastics. “THE endocrine disruptors are chemical substances present in the environment, derived from insecticides or plastics, and which change hormones girls and even fetuses,” explains Valls Llobet.

For example, when they burn tires In incinerators, more plastic-derived particles concentrate in the air, which ultimately affects miners’ puberty. “We see more cases of early puberty and early menopause, especially because of this type of contact. But we eat plastic: There is microplastics in fish from the sea,” he warns.

endocrine disruptors

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“I started to worry a few years ago when, in a week, they consulted me two girls aged 4 and 5 that they had a bleeding”, account Isolina Riano, endocrinologist-pediatrician at the Central University Hospital of Asturias (Oviedo) and member of the Inma project. Following the medical histories of the two patients, he saw that the “common bond” it was that at school they had started throwing them out tea tree essence. “Besides pesticides, there are endocrine disruptors [como por ejemplo los parabenos] who are in many cosmetics, gels or sanitary napkins”, warns Riaño, who recommends buying products of this type that are “0% parabens”.

Riaño assures that he has started to receive “many such cases.” “I have seen in my practice patients with signs of precocious puberty who were using such substances. If they had been using them for a short time, when removing these signs they disappeared. If it lasts for a long time, it can lead to the onset of precocious puberty, and this It is no longer reversible.”

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