Ninety-four percent of adolescent girls test positive for pollutants known to possess estrogen-mimicking activity and to increase risk of some cancers. The girls tested were from New York City, Cincinnati, and Northern California, and ranges across four ethnic groups. They were tested for 22 chemical pollutants from three families: phytoestrogens, phthalates, and phenols. Benzophenone-3 was the pollutant most consistently found in high amounts. This toxic chemical has been banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but is still used in U.S. cosmetics. It does not break down in the body, nor is it excreted. It is a known carcinogen, weakens the immune system, and is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it disrupts hormonal balance. The main group of phytoestrogens found in the study was from soy (these are chemicals in soy that look enough like estrogen to bind receptors in the body). I'll write more about additional toxic compounds that these researchers studied in coming blogs. For now, don't buy foods or personal care products (soap, cosmetics, deodorants, household cleaners) with ingredients in them that you can't pronounce! Also, limit your soy consumption to fermented products like tempeh and miso. This study sheds a great deal of light on why girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier, breast cancer rates are skyrocketing, and 12% of males "in their prime" are infertile. Read the study --published in a journal of the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Health Perspectives.