Effects of Environmental Agents on the Attainment of Puberty: Considerations When Assessing Exposure to Environmental Chemicals in the National Children’s Study
Published Date:Aug 2005
Source:Environ Health Perspect. 2005; 113(8):1100-1107.
Hormonally Active Agents
National Children’s Study
Description:The apparent decline in the age at puberty in the United States raises a general level of concern because of the potential clinical and social consequences of such an event. Nutritional status, genetic predisposition (race/ethnicity), and environmental chemicals are associated with altered age at puberty. The Exposure to Chemical Agents Working Group of the National Children's Study (NCS) presents an approach to assess exposure for chemicals that may affect the age of maturity in children. The process involves conducting the assessment by life stages (i.e., in utero, postnatal, peripubertal), adopting a general categorization of the environmental chemicals by biologic persistence, and collecting and storing biologic specimens that are most likely to yield meaningful information. The analysis of environmental samples and use of questionnaire data are essential in the assessment of chemicals that cannot be measured in biologic specimens, and they can assist in the evaluation of exposure to nonpersistent chemicals. Food and dietary data may be used to determine the extent to which nutrients and chemicals from this pathway contribute to the variance in the timing of puberty. Additional research is necessary in several of these areas and is ongoing. The NCS is uniquely poised to evaluate the effects of environmental chemicals on the age at puberty, and the above approach will allow the NCS to accomplish this task.
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