Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Scientific American Discovers Estrogen Footprints

My husband and I have both posted before on the environmental hazards of hormonal birth control pills which Canadian researchers have been monitoring.

The heart of the problem here is that synthetic estrogens from the Pill and similar birth control medications gets excreted into the sewage system. Current water treatement techniques do not remove these estrogens, and so they enter aquatic environments when treated water is returned to nature. There, these hormones are ingested by fish and other forms of aquatic life.

Another problem, which I have also mentioned in previous posts is that synthetic female hormones are classified as known carcinogens by the World Health Organization.

Scientific American has now picked up on both stories in their April 17 issue, according to the California Catholic Daily. Apparently the problem exists in the U.S. as well, and has the potential to be problematic for our food supply.

The article, titled "Bringing Cancer to the Dinner Table" states (emphasis mine):

Many streams, rivers and lakes already bear warning signs that the fish caught within them may contain dangerously high levels of mercury, which can cause brain damage. But, according to a new study, these fish may also be carrying enough chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen to cause breast cancer cells to grow. "Fish are really a sentinel, just like canaries in the coal mine 100 years ago," says Conrad Volz, co-director of exposure assessment at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's Center for Environmental Ecology. "We need to pay attention to chemicals that are estrogenic in nature, because they find their way back into the water we all use."

Somebody call Al Gore about my Estrogen Offset Program idea...

So, let's tally up the reasons hormonal birth control such as the pill is lousy: decreased libido, increased risk of breast and other cancer, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, and blood clots, and environmental damage including the emasculation of aquatic life. Now we can add increased breast cancer risk for everyone else (assuming they eat fish and/or drink estrogen contaminated water).

Hmm. Natural Family Planning, anyone?

Via Tito.

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