News in Brief

Highlights from the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, San Francisco

Estrogen mimics may delay puberty and honeybees hurting from pesticides

2:26pm, April 6, 2012

Fungus products among us
Fungal-derived estrogen mimics may delay puberty in girls, an ongoing study concludes. Experts have widely believed that the compounds would never be detectable in humans. Yet urine from 58 adolescents tested as part of a project called the Jersey Girl Study contained the estrogen mimics zearalenone — which is produced by fungi that infect grains — or zeranol, a synthetic muscle-boosting analog administered to livestock. Girls who ate beef the day before the testing excreted zeranol, and eating popcorn was linked to zearalenone. Compared with others their age, the girls most exposed to these compounds had shorter stature and were less likely to have reached puberty, Helmut Zarbl of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway reported March 12.

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