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Articles by Sandra Steingraber

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber is an internationally recognized expert on the environmental links to cancer and reproductive health. Formerly on faculty at Cornell University, she is currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y., and is the author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment and Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood.

Featured Article

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from “The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know, What We Need to Know,” written by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., and published by the Breast Cancer Fund. In the full report (downloadable here), Steingraber reviews several causes of and contributors to early puberty, including environmental factors.

Are chemicals making girls grow up too fast?

Photo: iStockphoto

Over the course of just a few decades, the childhoods of U.S. girls have been significantly shortened. Girls get their first periods, on average, a few months earlier than did girls 40 years ago. But they get their breasts, on average, one to two years earlier. Recent studies show that the advent of breast budding — one of the earliest visible signs of puberty — appears to be arriving earlier and earlier in the lives of U.S. girls. We need to know why.

As a biologist, I’m accustomed to distinguishing cause from consequence and consequence from co-variable. But in the puberty story, so many variables are interwoven and interdependent that, as I began to trace the thr... Read more