Reproductive Milestones Are Under Assault
Part 3 of 4 – Pregnancy Hormones
One of the most sensitive and critical windows of vulnerability at which the chemicals in our environment have more potent consequences is in the womb during pregnancy. The first study to look at prenatal exposure to hormone-altering chemicals found that the more chemicals in mothers’ bodies during pregnancy, the more significantly their daughters experienced early puberty (this study showed no evidence of earlier development for boys). Early puberty puts a young girl at higher risk of many health problems throughout their lives (see Part 1 of this series). In addition, by the age of 9 years, 55% of the children born to the mothers in this study were overweight or obese. Most of the chemicals tested in personal care products – cosmetics, toothpaste, soap, perfume, deodorant, shampoo – promote estrogenic activity. Parabens are added to many of these products as a preservative. Scented products contain phthalates. Some of the other prenatal chemicals found to specifically affect early puberty in this study are mono-ethyl phthalate, triclosan, propyl paraben, 2,4-dichlorophenol, methyl paraben, and 2,5-dichlorophenol. These are just a few of the thousands of hormone-altering chemicals in our daily lives.