Breaking disciplinary boundaries?
Adolescent research does take account of psycho-social factors and sociological institutions that affect and are affected by young people during their development. This chapter suggests that chemicals, and especially the group of chemicals called endocrine disruptors (EDCs), play an important role in altering and influencing development through adolescence. It presents a strong case for better links between the social sciences and medical departments and calls for more inter-disciplinary research approaches. The greatest lesson in understanding the toxicological consequences of exposure to EDCs occurred with a pharmaceutical: diethylstilbestrol (DES). The familial dietary habits of adolescents or the different dietary habits of adolescents from their parents lead to the increased risk of exposure to EDCs, especially to alkylphenols such as Bisphenol A (BPA), which can lead to elevated health risks. Identifying the environmental risk factors for precocious and delayed puberty is important for improving the assessment of children's health risks that stem from EDC exposure.