Environmental Exposures Related to Early Puberty

EPA Grant Number: R825816
Title: Environmental Exposures Related to Early Puberty
Investigators: Wolff, Mary S. , Kabat, Geoffrey , Forman, Joel , Leleiko, Neal , Larson, Signe , Berkowitz, Gertrud S. , Godbold, James , Kase, Nathan
Current Investigators: Wolff, Mary S. , Kabat, Geoffrey , Forman, Joel , Britton, Julie , Leleiko, Neal , Hochman, Sarah , Larson, Signe , Kadlubar, Fred F. , Wetmur, James G. , Berkowitz, Gertrud S. , Godbold, James , Kase, Nathan , Serra, Nicole
Institution: Mount Sinai School of Medicine
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: January 16, 1998 through January 15, 2001
Project Amount: $380,482
RFA: Issues in Human Health Risk Assessment (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Human Health


The goal of this research is to investigate the potential effect of cumulative, multiple environmental exposures on onset of puberty, in particular early breast development. A secondary goal is to better understand racial/ethnic differences in environmental exposures and in onset of puberty. Our main hypothesis is that exposures to hormonally active environmental agents hasten onset of puberty, and specifically, that high levels of estrogenic organochlorines and low levels of dietary isoflavones are associated with earlier breast development. Ancillary hypotheses are that hormonally active environmental exposures are higher among girls from minority groups and that dietary isoflavone intake (potentially protective) is higher among Hispanics.


Healthy 9 yr-old girls will be studied, from each of three ethnic groups (African-American, Caucasian, Hispanic). Girls rather than boys are being studied because of interest in estrogenic exposures which may influence female puberty. In addition to pubertal staging, dietary intake and information on height, weight, physical activity as well as relevant perinatal risk factors including birth weight will be obtained. Biological samples will be analyzed for selected environmental estrogens.

Expected Results:

We expect that environmental exposures will influence pubertal development independent of body mass, birth weight and other factors. We expect that earlier puberty will be associated with higher estrogenic exposures. It is also expected that girls from minority groups will have higher levels of organochlorines than Caucasian girls, on average, but Hispanic girls will have higher intake of protective dietary agents which can be antiestrogenic, and therefore lower Tanner stage than African-American girls.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

puberty, environmental estrogens, development, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Genetics, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, endocrine disruptors, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Endocrine Disruptors - Human Health, health effects, interindividual variability, puberty, reproductive effects, risk assessment, adolescence, adolescents, breast cancer, childhood cancer, health risks, vulnerability, racial and ethnic differences, age-related differences, endocrine disrupting chemicals, exposure, gender, gene-environment interaction, children, environmental mutagens, fertility, human malformation, particle exposure models, human exposure, susceptibility, toxicity, cumulative environmental exposure, diet, environmental stressors, environmental toxicant, harmful environmental agents, race ethnicity, toxic environmental contaminants, biological markers, growth & development, reproductive health, toxicants, hispanics, isoflavones, age, cancer risk, developmental disorders, exposure assessment, genetic diversity, reproductive

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report