Plas­tic cups may cause early pu­berty: study

The China Post - - LOCAL -

A re­search team from Na­tional Cheng Kung Uni­ver­sity (NCKU) has found that us­ing plas­tic cups, bowls and bags to con­sume hot foods or bev­er­ages could lead to early pu­berty in girls and boys tak­ing on fem­i­nine traits.

Lee Ching-chang, a pro­fes­sor in NCKU’s Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal and Oc­cu­pa­tional Health, said that in its three-year study, the team stud­ied 71 sex­u­ally pre­co­cious girls aged 2-8.

The fac­tors lead­ing to sex­ual pre­coc­ity could in­clude genes, obe­sity, diet, pres­sure, sex­ual con­tacts and es­pe­cially en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, which are mainly linked to plas­ti­ciz­ers and en­vi­ron­men­tal hor­mones.

The study found that the plas­tic’s ex­po­sure to hot sub­stances in­creased the level of plas­ti­ciz­ers that melt into the item be­ing con­sumed, Lee said.

The girls in the study showed no signs of ill­ness but had de­vel­oped breasts, and a com­mon link was their ex­po­sure to en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors.

“Most of the girls drink tea bev­er­ages or hot soy bean milk in plas­tic cups al­most daily,” Lee said.

One girl in the study even slept in the same room with her par­ents that was filled with all kinds of aro­matic perfumes, even though plas­ti­ciz­ers are a com­mon ad­di­tive in the perfumes, he said.

For­eign stud­ies have in­di­cated that the in­ges­tion of plas­ti­ciz­ers in­creases the risk of boys be­com­ing fem­i­nine and girls be­com­ing sex­u­ally pre­co­cious, with the sit­u­a­tion in girls es­pe­cially se­ri­ous.

Most of the plas­ti­ciz­ers found in chil­dren’s bod­ies come from food they con­sume, and hot food in plas­tic cups, bowls or bags risks in­creas­ing the rate of plas­ti­ciz­ers melt­ing into food by two or three times.

Lee noted that fra­grant es­sen­tial oils de­pend on large amount of fix­ers to sta­bi­lize the fragrance, and the fix­ers are plas­ti­ciz­ers.

“The more fra­grant the aroma, the more plas­ti­cizer is in it,” said Lee, not­ing that perfumes, sham­poos, creams, or any­thing that is fra­grant use such in­gre­di­ents, and they are all in­haled into the body.

He also re­minded the public that plas­tic sur­round­ing elec­tric cords will start re­leas­ing plas­ti­ciz­ers at around 38 de­grees Cel­sius, and ad­vised peo­ple to un­plug them when not in use.

Lee said plas­ti­ciz­ers in the air could be­come at­tached to par­ti­cles and fall onto the floor, and young chil­dren could let them into their sys­tems if they sucked their fin­gers af­ter crawl­ing on the floor.

He also urged wash­ing one’s hands fre­quently and us­ing less sham­poo and shower gel to re­duce risks.

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