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Girls developing breasts early

Young girls are developing breasts early, and for some with no other physical signs of puberty.

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Pre-pubescent Danish girls are developing breasts a year earlier than previously and seemingly not as a result of their own hormones, according to a new survey from the Rigshospitalet’s Department of Growth and Reproduction.

“We believe this is a result of environmental factors – hormone disrupting substances that have a strength to develop breasts despite the fact that the girls do not enter puberty. These substances are everywhere – in cosmetics, foodstuffs, paint – everywhere,” says Sr. Lise Aksglæde one of the authors of the report, naming parabenes and phthalates as two of the substances under suspicion.

More than 2,000 Copenhagen girls between five and a half and 20 years of age have taken part in the puberty survey. Half were surveyed in 1992 and 1993 and the rest between 2006 and 2008. Results have been published in the American scientific journal Pediatrics.

“The results are very worrying. A dark horse has appeared that affects Danish children and we don’t know what it is. We keep on measuring substances such as phthalates and parabenes but this cannot necessarily give us the answer as to whether these are the substances affecting them,” says Rigshospitalet’s Department of Growth and Reproduction Head Professor Anders Juul.

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