Scientists have found a type of pesticide that disrupts the endocrine system. Pyrethroids are synthetic chemicals similar to naturally-occurring pyrethrin. Like pyrethrin, the pyrethroids repel or kill insects. They now account for approximately 30 percent of the pesticide used world-wide.
How Do Pyrethroids Affect Hormones?
Chinese scientists report that such compounds speed the onset of puberty in males. They studied 463 boys between 9 and 16. Those with higher urinary levels of a pyrethroid-derived compound were far more likely to be at an advanced stage of genital development. (The compound is called 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, or 3-PBA.) Early puberty and sexual maturation can put a boy at a disadvantage socially, however.
Pyrethroids Speed Up Puberty in Lab Mice:
Mouse studies confirmed that pyrethroids hasten the onset of puberty. Such compounds push the body to make more testosterone than it otherwise would. As a result, the researchers urge caution in using this type of pesticide around children.
Liu et al, Endocrine Society annual meeting, Orlando, FL, April 1, 2017