Researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy studied a group of girls affected by the early onset of puberty, or central precocious puberty (or CPP). The study was initiated to understand why this area has a much higher than average incidence of CPP.
The authors tested the girls for mycoestrogens to see if environmental toxins were a factor in the girl's premature development. Six of the seventeen girls with CPP were found to have elevated levels of mycoestrogens.
Lead author, Dr. Francesco Massart, states that, "Although this finding might be incidental, mycoestrogens may be related to CPP occurrence in girls exposed to mycoestrogens. However the presence of this pollution could not explain the epidemic of CPP in the region, suggesting that other environmental factors such as pesticides and herbicides may be involved."
The authors also note that because of its chemical resemblance to some anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding, mycoestrogen may promote accelerated growth in exposed children. Researchers believe this study identifies the need for more research into the possible negative effects of environmental pollutants on children.