Puberty is a time of significant growth and physical changes. Females usually start puberty between 8 and 13 years old, while males start between 9 and 14 years old.
The start of menstrual periods and the development of the breast. Both processes are controlled by hormones, mainly oestrogen.
EDCs can interfere with the normal function of hormones and may have an impact on puberty and breast development.
Starting menstrual periods early (before ten years old) and developing breasts early (before eight years old) have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Studies have shown that girls are now starting puberty at a younger age than girls who were born in the 1970s. With puberty starting at a younger age, the exposure to oestrogen throughout life is lengthened. Prolonged exposure to oestrogen is believed to increase breast cancer risk.
Studies that have investigated exposure to EDCs and age at puberty have been inconclusive. More research is needed to explore the link between EDC exposure and puberty and any possible effect on breast cancer risk.