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Dramatic drop in female puberty

Danish girls develop breasts a year earlier than they did 15 years ago.

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Danish girls are entering puberty earlier and develop breasts a full year earlier than they did 15 years ago, according to a new study.

Reported in 24Timer, the survey compared the average age of breast development among 2000 girls in 1991 and 2006.

While that first sign of puberty showed itself at the age of 10.88 in 1991, the 2006 age was 9.86.

“That is a dramatic drop,” says Dr. Lise Aksglæde Ph.D. of the national teaching hospital Rigshospitalet, who carried out the study for her doctoral thesis.

In the same period, the average age at the start of the menstrual cycle dropped three months and now takes place, on average, at 13.1 years of age.

“To our surprise there is no difference in BMI between the two groups, or indeed in their hormonal production. The hypothesis therefore is that this has something to do with hormone disrupting agents,” says Aksglæde.

The Centre for Endocrine Disrupting Agents at Rigshospitalet confirms that the agents are suspected of causing changes in female puberty.

The EU’s current list of substances that are seen as hormone disrupting, or potentially so, counts some 194 agents.

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