Many scientific studies have revealed a trend towards an earlier onset of puberty and have disclosed an increasing number of children that display precocious puberty. As an explanation, some authors have considered the global socio-economic improvement across different populations, and other authors have considered the action of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Among these, bisphenol A (BPA), an aromatic compound largely used worldwide as a precursor of some plastics and chemical additives, is well known for its molecular oestrogen-like and obesogenic actions. We reviewed the medical literature of the previous 20 years that examined associations between BPA exposure and the age of puberty in humans, considering only those referring to clinical or epidemiological data. Of 19 studies, only 7 showed a correlation between BPA and puberty. In particular, the possible disruptive role of BPA on puberty may be seen in those with central precocious puberty or isolated premature breast development aged 2 months to 4 years old, even if the mechanism is undefined. Some studies also found a close relationship between urinary BPA, body weight, and early puberty, which can be explained by the obesogenic effect of BPA itself. The currently available data do not allow establishment of a clear role for BPA in pubertal development because of the conflicting results among all clinical and epidemiological studies examined. Further research is needed to fully understand the potential role of exposure to EDCs and their adverse endocrine health outcomes.
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