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Puberty in Toddlers RevealsIgnored Chemical Dangers

Posted Sep 13 2008 6:56am

“Don’t be such a wimp;” “The stuff wouldn’t be on the market if it wasn’t safe;” “You’re scared of everything.”

No, these words aren’t from a bully picking on a small kid. It’s an approximation of what I’ve heard from people when I’ve expressed concern about all the different household products, cosmetics and drugs that we sell in this and other countries.

Most people do worry about what we’re doing to the environment. But it’s difficult to escape the myriad of chemicals in our lives. When we try to do the right thing, it is expensive.

The only way for real change to be initiated is for the public to become horrified. It took years of building public concern over child obesity before the government forced improvements to school lunches.

Apparently deformed frogs, dying oceans and brown air don’t seem to scare Americans sufficiently to cause true reform when it comes to Our Toxic World. So how about something that hits closer to home?

How about your preschool-aged kids developing pubic hair or breasts? No, I’m not making this stuff up; you can read about it in The New York Times.

My skin crawls each time I read this paragraph:

The doctors realized that the girl’s father was using a concentrated testosterone skin cream bought from an Internet compounding pharmacy for cosmetic and sexual performance purposes. From normal skin contact with their father, the children absorbed the testosterone, which caused pubic hair growth and genital enlargement. The boy, in particular, also developed some aggressive behavior problems.

I don’t know about you, but if my 15-month-old started developing pubic hair, I’d have a gaggle of researchers, not to mention lawyers, over at my apartment tomorrow.

At least in this case, the parents had a clear identifiable source – though some of these creams and sprays contaminate bedding and clothing to such an extent they must be discarded.

What is really scary, is these chemicals don’t easily break down in the environment, which means they wind up in rivers, lakes and ground water. Many of these artificial hormones and endocrine disrupters do not break down in water treatment plants, either. The only saving grace is that the chemicals are fairly diluted. But for how long?

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