Childhood's end


By Joanna Marchant PESTICIDE residues may be affecting the reproductive systems of children in developing countries, say researchers in Belgium. A team led by Jean-Pierre Bourguignon from the University of Liège has found that children who had immigrated from countries such as India and Colombia are 80 times more likely to start puberty unusually young. The researchers suspect that DDT may be to blame. Three-quarters of these immigrant children with “precocious puberty” had high levels of a chemical derivative of DDT in their blood. This chemical, called DDE, mimics the effects of the hormone oestrogen,
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