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Int J Androl. 2006 Feb;29(1):264-71; discussion 286-90.

Endocrine disrupters and human puberty.

Author information

1
Department of Toxicology, VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Mol, Belgium. elly.denhond@vito.be

Abstract

In this overview of the literature, epidemiological research studying the effect of endocrine disrupters on the onset of puberty is summarized. In girls, earlier age at menarche was reported after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), persistent pesticides [dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)] and phthalate esters. However, several other studies found no effect of these compounds on age at menarche or pubertal Tanner stages. One study reported a delaying effect of dioxin-like compounds on breast development. In boys, exposure to PCBs, PCDFs or the pesticide endosulfan was associated with delayed puberty or decreased penile length. Much of the results found in population studies are in accordance with experimental studies in animals. However, the mixture of different components with antagonistic effects (oestrogenic, anti-oestrogenic, anti-androgenic) and the limited knowledge about the most critical window for exposure (prenatal, peri-natal and pubertal) may hamper the interpretation of results.

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