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Chemicals Affecting Boys’ Development

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

It comes as no surprise that the environment and lifestyle of a child can play a major role in their development. Unfortunately, that role is not always a positive part to play. The chemicals in the environment are starting to affect the development of boys. There aren’t any signs that boys are starting to go through puberty earlier or faster, as girls are, they are slowing down. The environmental toxins they are being exposed to may be causing a lag in their development entirely.

Plant estrogens can be found in foods, as either man made or naturally occurring. The man made forms can also be found in different forms of plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides. Exposure to plant estrogens has caused temporary breast enlargement in some boys.

Phthalates are used to increase the flexibility in plastics. They can be found in some hard packaging, medical tubing, containers, and plastic bags. Children are usually at a higher level of exposure due to their habits of exploration and mouthing. Some infant males exposed to increased levels have developed anatomical changes, such as un-descended testes.

Atrazine is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the world. Researches found that millions of Americans have been exposed to atrazine through contaminated tap water. Pregnancy and prenatal exposure has been linked to menstrual issues, low birth weight, and birth defects. Atrazine has also been found to change the gender of frogs exposed to it, or cause tadpoles to develop into hermaphrodites, (with both gender parts). It has also caused a wide spread sterility among frogs exposed, as well as chemical castration. With similar effects on the human male reproductive system, increased exposure may cause similar defects in developing boys.

BPA, or bisphenol A, has been used in making plastics since the 1930’s. Until recently the most common place to find BPA was many canned food containers and beverage bottles. BPA exposure has been reported to affect male reproductive systems, and cause poor semen count and quality. Early exposure to BPA has also been linked to abnormal development in male organs, as well as an early onset of puberty in girls.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Chemicals Affecting Boys’ Development

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