Skip to comments.The Pill as Pollutant (Pill-derived estrogen in water supply causing intersex)
Posted on 04/22/2008 9:57:42 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
A really inconvenient truth.
In 2002, thanks to soccer star David Beckham, the world was introduced to the metrosexual. Two years later, and with less mainstream-media attention, we got our first exposure to Intersex.
Intersex is not some new perversion or a weird combination of science fiction and pornography. It is an unfortunate condition that is affecting freshwater fish all over the developed world. It occurs when fish of one sex also exhibit sexual characteristics of the other sex.
In 2004, for example, researchers on the Potomac River, downstream from Washington, D.C., found large-mouth bass that in most respects were males, but who had eggs in their sexual organs. Quite often when this happens to fish, they find themselves unable to reproduce. When it happens primarily to male fish, the fish population in general suffers.
The cause of intersexuality among fish, scientists speculate, is pollution in the water, particularly hormones. Why dont we have more outcries about hormones, and campaigns to save the fish populations? Why arent environmentalists lobbying on Capitol Hill to keep these chemicals from being dumped into our rivers?
Maybe because the source of these chemicals is not some corporate polluter, but something a little more dear to the Left: human birth-control pills, morning-after pills, and abortion pills.
The environmentalists silence on this topic and their willful distortions when they do talk about it show how, for many of them, the environment is more a tool for advancing favored policies than a real cause in itself.
As I demonstrate in The Really Inconvenient Truths, by any standard typically used by environmentalists, the pill is a pollutant. It does the same thing, just worse, as other chemicals they call pollution.
But liberals have gone to extraordinary lengths in order to stop consideration of contraceptive estrogen as a pollutant. When Bill Clintons Environmental Protection Agency launched its program to screen environmental estrogens (a program required under the Food Quality Protection Act), the committee postponed considering impacts from contraceptives. Instead, it has decided to screen and test only pesticide chemicals, commercial chemicals, and environmental contaminants.
When and if it considers the impacts from oral contraceptives, the Agency says that its consideration will be limited because pharmaceutical regulation is a Food and Drug Administration concern.
As a result, the EPAs program will focus all energies on the smallest-possible part of endocrine exposure in the environment and the lowest-risk area. If regulators did screen for estrogen from contraceptives or for estrogen from plants (phytoestrogens), these two sources would dwarf the impact of pesticides and other chemicals.
These findings would highlight the fact that low-level exposure to commercially related endocrine disruptors is relatively insignificant, a fact that would undermine the agencys ability to regulate commercial products on the allegation that they are a significant source of endocrine disruption.
So government bureaucrats, the enforcement wing of liberal environmentalism, officially refuse to do anything about the contraceptive pollution issue in the United States. All this is in marked contrast to the United Kingdoms Environment Agency, which at least has the decency to label the contraceptive pill a pollutant, even though it appears powerless or unwilling to do anything about it.
What about the activist wing? Well, this is where the story gets really interesting. Environmental groups have a long record of promoting contraceptive use. The current head of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, was once political director of the group Zero Population Growth.
Back in 1970, the Sierra Club adopted a resolution, which said that, The protection of the quality of our environment is impossible in the face of the present rate of population growth, and that therefore, Laws, policies, and attitudes that foster population growth or big families, or that restrict abortion and contraception should be abandoned; [and] comprehensive and realistic birth control programs should be available to every member of our society.
The Sierra Club isnt some outlier in the liberal environmental movement. They all believe this. Take, for instance, the World Wildlife Funds senior campaigns officer, Norman Myers, who said in an interview on the WWF U.K.s website, This new wave [of claimed species extinctions] is being created partly by pressure of . . . big deep breath . . . too many people, still increasing at quite a rapid rate, an extra 72 million per year. Thats one factor, and we know how to fix it, we know it will not cost the Earth. We could supply contraceptives to all those 180 million people in the developing world who dont want any more children but they lack the contraceptive hardware. We should supply them as a basic human right even if there was no population problem.
The list goes on. Environmental Defense advocates access to contraception as a vital element in the fight against global warming. The Earth Policy Institute also calls contraception a vital service.
Its not just environmentalists campaigning for contraception, of course. Their colleagues in the liberal movement use environmental arguments in favor of contraceptive use all the time. Take, for example, the Guttmacher Institute, which in 2006 issued a detailed policy report with the ironic title, Environmental Justice Campaigns Provide Fertile Ground for Joint Efforts with Reproductive Rights Advocates.
Marie Stopes International says on the environment page on its website, There are many pressures on the environment and natural resources, but the environmental challenges humanity faces will become harder to address as the worlds population continues to increase. Worldwide, there is still a vast unmet need for contraception. Around 200 million women world wide who want to access contraception, cant.
Planned Parenthood of America says, For the past decade, prominent women in the global environmental movement have been advancing an environmental agenda based on feminism and human rights. They believe there are strong links between the health of the environment, the ability of women to engage and lead their communities, and their ability to exercise their inherent reproductive rights. Women have a stake in a clean environment because they are often the main providers of food and water, and their reproductive health can be adversely affected by environmental degradation.
In other words, in the liberal world, the environment and unrestricted access to contraception are inextricably linked. We therefore have an answer to our question why liberal environmentalists are silent on the synthetic estrogen from contraceptives that is undoubtedly causing real environmental disasters. Because they helped cause them!
Now Im not an anti-contraception activist by any means. Yet it seems clear to me that there is a real problem here. The problem could probably be solved by a few lawsuits under common law by owners of fishing rights against water-treatment plants, who would then presumably be required to develop means of stopping the estrogen reaching the fishing grounds. However, in the world we live in, people have been stripped of property rights in favor of collective ownership, and the politicians who are supposed to represent our ownership are terrified of doing anything that might be seen as infringing on contraception. Thats where environmental groups could be doing a valuable job balancing out interests. Yet because theyre in cahoots with the contraception lobby, that isnt going to happen. The environmental groups should be part of the solution. But theyre part of the problem.
This is adapted from Chapter 3 of Iain Murrays new book, The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Wont Tell You About Because They Helped Cause Them, published today by Regnery.
Believe me, guys: you do not want eggs in your testicles.
The Truths Shall Set You Free
By Iain Murray
YET LIBERALS DON’T always demand coercive regulations in the name of environmental protection, if it doesn’t suit them. For example, today, synthetic estrogen is adversely affecting river and lake fish populations.
Synthetic estrogen comes from birth control pills in vast amounts, yet is ignored by activists who instead call for controls on chemicals present in much smaller amounts that have much less effect. Why? One environmental activist called it a “personal freedom issue” — as if liberals never call for restrictions on those.
I'd like to see the numbers on hermaphroditic bass and whether this has occurred historically.
I mean, we KNOW how honest the popular "science" is on global warming, and so forth.
I do have to question one thing the writer said, that being whether they meant Striped Bass, or Largemouth Bass. Striped Bass were common in the lower reaches of the Potomac (tidewater--open to the ocean and brackish). Below D.C. (actually Great Falls) the Potomac is tidewater, above that point, fresh.
I've been reading about this for 15 years in the scientific press, but not til this year has it made it onto the media radar. If you google endocrine disruption estrogen fish amphibians, though, you'll get 55,200 results.
I think this is something more than genderqueer guppies.
“guys: you do not want eggs in your testicles.”
I thought scrambled eggs and bull balls were popular out West????
Nice to see in print what I've been telling people for a long time. We mess with God's creation and there is consequences.
“downstream from Washington, D.C., found large-mouth bass that in most respects were males, but who had eggs in their sexual organs.”
This explains a lot. We elect Republican but after they’ve been in Washington a while they all become pu**ies.
People aren’t buying the global warming scare so another one is needed with the potential to scare people into delivering all power to the regulators. This is a perfect one as it involves a) sex, b) the evil pharmaceutical companies, and c) no data from the past to compare the present to.
A made for t.v.scare!
Scrambled eggs and bull balls is a common result of rodeo riding.
You think estrogen is a naturally occurring part of our ecosystem?
If you see someone cleaning out a non-disposable feminine hygiene product just one time, you won't care HOW full the landfill gets.
Of course it is, but not in those concentrations.
Yes, that was my point, thank you for stating it more better.
I think you mean "more betterly."
We’re all more betterly clinging to our guns and religion here in small town PA.
2. What about all the older women taking estrogen supplements? (This number is lower now.) Does the author want to ban this too?
3. There are now a number of products for both men and women that involve hormones applied to the skin. In this case the hormone can be washed directly into the sewer system without even being processed through the body.
Morning-after abortion pills aren’t pollutants. They are safe and effective. Carbon dioxide is the real pollutant. The government told me so.
“I think this is something more than genderqueer guppies.....”
Yeah, probably genderqueer journalism just to start with....
Yes, estrogen is a naturally occurring part of the ecosystem. And I’d really like to see reliable data on historic concentrations adjusted for the increasing sensitivity of measurement techniques. When a buffalo or caribou goes by the concentrations is local streams must increase some, even a few centuries back.
Endocrine disruptor claims have been going on for years. Might be true. Might not. Case hasn’t been made.
One possible distinction --- here I'm just musing or speculating --- would be between women's naturally-occurring estrogens on the one hand, and estrogenic chemicals used in oral contraceptives and hormone-replacement therapies on the other. Women's naturally-occuring estrogens are at a level normal for the body and quite complexly in-sync with other hormones, metabolic products and catalysts. The healthy body knows how to use or metabolize them effectively.
On the other hand, HRT estrogen can put women's bodies seriously out-if-whack. Females my age have been really whiplashed by the controversies over the past 20 years: women who faithfully and conscientiously "treated" menopause on their doctor's advice, found themselves at elevated risk for pulmonary embolism, coronary heart disease and stroke, even greater risk of osteoporosis (which it was supposed to prevent or cure). And then they kept re-jiggering the dosages and tweaking the formulations to add varying amounts of progesterone and even testosterone, etc.
One's evaluation of it depends on what one considers to be "optimal, normal" menopause, which has never been adequately defined ---or even whether menopause itself is considered a healthy phase or a regrettabke and reversible symptom of aging and decline.
It's even more striking with OC's, where the purpose of the hormone is to thwart what are clearly healthy and natural physiological processes. My hypothesis is that deliberately disrupting normal cycles interferes with the body's ability to regulate levels; hence the body just tries to excrete the excess.
That's just my guess.
I believe cross-species estrogens and hormones can also be a problem. The drug Premarin has warnings about taking it during pregnancy. However, Premarin is completely natural,coming from pregnant mares. One estrogen in particular, is not found in the human metabolic pathway, that estrogen being estrone. Estrone is a very potent estrogen.
The reason, estrone and some of the other estrogens, in Premarin may be a problem for the fetus, is they do not bind to the human alpha fetal proteins. The fetal alpha proteins do bind to the maternal estrogens, preventing them from having deleterious effects on the fetus. I believe the exogenous hormones may well suppress the development of the pituitary and the hypothalamus, during gestationl. That would explain atypical sexual development.
This would apply to both natural (cross-species) and synthetic estrogens. Other chemicals that are of concern are progesterones, some of them will act as potent androgen blockers. Example: Cyproterone acetate, which is used as treatment for female hirsutism in europe. It is known to cause deformities in genital development in the fetus. It is also known to influence the sexual behavior of rats, when administered at the right period during gestation in rats. Presumably, it would also affect the sexual behavior in human males, making their behavior more feminine.
Other androgen blockers of concer would be finasteride, and similar drugs used to treat male pattern baldness.
Now, testosterone exposure to the fetus will tend to masculinize girl fetuses. Sometimes, the testoterone comes from the fetus itself. In the condition,known as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, there is a metabolic error that does not allow the adrenal gland to convert testosterone into cortisol. The end result is testosterone accumulates in the fetus, producing masculinization of the genitals and masculinizaiton of behavior patterns.
Correction regarding estrogens in Premarin. After I posted, I remembered the estrogen unique to horses is equilin, instead of estrone.
It seems to me (a non-expert) that the prenatal development of normal sexual anatomy and physiology is a multiplex and delicate process, and affects, of course, the whole prenatal person, including brain development as well as sexual morphology.
If I were pregnant, I almost think I'd want to grow my own veggies and rise my own chickens in the backyard, drink distilled water, and generally avoid all the hormone disruptors, xenoestrogens and related crap.
I do wish people would "turn the clock forward," stop using contraceptives that were deliberately designed to disrupt normal hormonal physiology, and practice state-of-the-art, 21st Century birth control as the best way to do NFP.
But what if the fish prefer intersex? With humans it’s just an “alternative lifestyle.” And we shouldn’t impose our morality on others, right?
Thank you for your kind words. I will agree that caution, concerning diet, is really important during pregnancy. My feelings are, women should be avoiding taking hormonal preparations, both natural and synthetic, during pregnancy.
Gills and thrills. :’)