Friday, September 25, 2009

Drinking Water Feminizing Male Children?

All photos courtesy: TreeHugger.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has finally decided to look into regulating chemicals used in hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills. Unfortunately, 85% of the hormones in these medications are not used by the body they are prescribed for; but, instead are passed out the body via the urine. This chemical-laden toilet bowl water, of course, ends up in the waste water system.

Some scientists believe that these hormones can (and do) affect developing children even with very low counts of parts per trillion in the drinking water. Males have smaller penises, lower sperm count, defective sperm, bigger breasts, testicular cancer; and, a reduction in the number of males being born. Females suffer from obesity and early puberty.

As one scientist said on the program the Disappearing Male:
"We are conducting a vast toxicological experiment in which our children and our children's children are the experimental subjects."

A Canadian study, obviously done by someone who didn't care that they were poisoning an entire ecosystem, showed what happens when birth control pill hormones are dumped into a lake to the concentration of five parts per trillion. One of the results was that the entire population of Fathead Minnows that called that lake home crashed.

Fathead minnows are extremely hardy and survive where many other fish can't; but, they were no match for this unnatural attack on their systems.

Karen Kidd of the University of New Brunswick seeded the 34-hectare lake with 5 parts per trillion (ppt) 17∝-ethynylestradiol — the active ingredient in birth control pills - so she could study the results.

She studied the effect of the hormones; and, according to Environmental Science and Technology:

"Within weeks of the first doses, male minnows started making vitellogenin, an egg-yolk protein typically produced by female fish. Within 2 years, the protein concentration reached up to 10,000 times normal levels. The exposure delayed sexual development of both sexes and because minnows spawn for just one season during their 2-year life, this caused the population to plummet toward collapse in just 3 years. The minnow population took 2 years to recover after researchers stopped adding estrogen.".

The EPA is also looking at agricultural pesticides, microbes, commercial chemicals, and chemicals used in Scotchgard and Teflon. It comes as no surprise to bird owners that burning teflon pots and pans can (and has) killed our feathered friends.

It is quite the list, and includes many chemicals used in agriculture, industry and the military. This list includes perchlorate a key component in rocket fuel and critical to the space shuttle. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. If interested, you can see the whole list of chemicals here.

It is all part of a "Contaminant Candidate List"- a "multi-step CCL process". Nothing has been decided yet; they are just looking.

The Disappearing Male. Well worth the time.

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