Sunday, May 14, 2006

More Disturbing stuff....

I read part of a study by Chandra Tiwary, who was the chief of pediatric endocriology at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, at
She did a study on shampoos that were very high in estrogens and were favoured by African Americans (because they were deep-conditioning). In her research, she found a 14 month old who had developed breasts and pubic hair within months of starting to use the shampoo, due to the very high doses of estrogens in the shampoo. The symptoms went away when they stopped using the shampoo. This also links to the fact that kids are hitting puberty earlier. And, apparently, the breast development symptom isn't only for girls. This might explain why some boys in my high school had bigger boobs than me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What's so scary about Xenoestrogens?

The effects of xenoestrogens are many and varied. I'm going to list some of the effects that have been documented in both humans and animals. Many of these incidents are from the book Our Stolen Future: How We Are Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival-- A Scientific Detective Story by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peter Meyers. This book is the Bible of hormone disruptors because it analyzes dozens of independent studies that relate to xenoestrogens. The authors compiled them to show the massive effects of xenoestrogens in the world.

I don't have the sources for the other info I'm citing; it comes from a class discussion we had in Global Resources 307, where individuals in the class read about 20 various articles on the subject and then presented the info to the class. Needless to say these were scholarly articles. But still, I wish I had the source listing. However, I do have the years and locations of some of the studies.

Effects on Humans:
  • 2002, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: pregnant women's plasma levels have high levels of DDT and DDE. These were also present in the placenta and breast milk. Was due to high consumption of contaminated fish.
  • 1996: women who have been exposed to PCBs and DDE had greater levels of breast cancer.
  • 2001: Increase in hypospadia (malformed sex organs or hermaphrodites). The number is 1/250 babies worldwide have this problem.
  • 2002, Egypt: organochlorides present in breat milk. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the more organochlorides dispelled from her body(and into the baby's).
  • 1996, Minnesota: more birth defects in agricultural areas
  • Many different studies have documented a decrease in human sperm count. Also, aside from lower number of sperm, there are more deformed sperm (ie. two tails, no tail, no head)
  • A decrease in penis size (yes, that's right boys!!!)
  • Link: This is an article from the London Free Press entitled Pesticides May Affect Penis Size.
  • Scotland, Stirling University: metabolic malfunctions that lead to obesity because xenoestrogens affect natural weight-control processes
  • 2002: Journal of Lipid Research "indicates that unwanted weight gain may be strongly linked to hormone-disrupting contaminants" by increasing the number of fat cells in the body and also by enhancing the fat storing capabilities of those cells.
  • There has also been evidence these chemicals affect behaviour and cause decreased intelligence (by an average of 5 IQ points, I believe it was).
  • 2002, Holland: Exposure in the womb causes males to exhibit "demasculinized play behaviours" (

Effects in Animals:

  • 1950s, Florida: bald eagles no longer interested in mating.
  • 1968-1978: Fish and birds have growth and development problems that were eventually linked to DDT, DDE, aldrin, and dialdrin
  • 1960s, Lake Michigan: minks not producing as many pups.
  • 1994-1995, Florida: Alligators have reduced penis sizes and decreased sperm counts that lead to it being almost impossible for them to reproduce.
  • 1970s, Lake Ontario: Herring Gulls, 80% of chicks didn't hatch and there were many gross deformities (ie. missing eyes, twisted bills).
  • 2002, Florida: 80% of the femal mosquito fish were partially masculinized, and 10% were fully masculinized, meaning only 10% were normal!
  • 2004: More female turtles born than males
  • 2000: Mice-- exposure to environmental estrogens leads to female reproductive cancers and malformations; testicular cancer.
  • 1950s, England: disappearance of otters.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What are Xenoestrogens anyway???

Products we use everyday are filled with synthetic chemicals. Since these are man-made chemicals that do not naturally occur, the body does not know how to deal with them. One group of synthetic chemicals that is responsible for many terrible effects are xenoestrogens (xeno means foreign). Other names for them are hormone disruptors, estrogen mimics, and endocrine disruptors. Since the chemicals are similar in structure to the natural hormone estrogen, they affect areas of the body naturally regulated by estrogen.

Two biological properties of xenoestrogens are bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Bioaccumulation means that since the body stores these chemicals in fat, and since the only way they can leave a woman's body is through the placenta, all of the xenoestrogens you are exposed to in your life stay in your body for your entire life. Biomagnification has to do with the food chain. Since these chemicals stay in the body, when a large fish eats a small fish, it is eating that fish's ENTIRE accumulation of the contaminents. Then, when the human eats the large fish, not only are we eating the xenoestrogens the large fish has been exposed to, but also all of the xenoestrogens that the little fish and algae were exposed to! That makes for a lot of toxins.

The main problem with xenoestrogens is that our bodies are bombarded with them all day. Not only are they present in the food we eat, but also in most of our toiletries and cleaners. They are also present in the home, in some types of carpets, paint and such. When I first found out about xenoestrogens, I checked my lotions, cleansers, hair products, feminine hygiene products, and make up. All had xenoestrogens. One of the most popular ones are parabens. They usually have another word before them such as methyl, or ethyl. Red dye no.3 is also another common one. Dioxin is another one. It is a biproduct of processes like bleaching and burning products. They have been found in tampons and pads.

Also, many plastics are hormonally active and release xenoestrogens into things they come in contact with. This is why it is never a good idea to heat or cook something in plastic, because the heat accelerates the leaching of the chemicals into the food. When you look at all the food that is packaged in plastic, and the abundance of plastic water bottles, containers and utensils, you begin to understand why this is such a problem.

Again, the main problem with xenoestrogens is that we are exposed to them dozens of times a day from dozens of sources. When you add in the fact that these chemicals stay in our bodies for life, you see that this is not only a problem, but an epidemic. A modern epidemic, since these synthetic chemicals didn't exist 70 years ago.

A good site for information on the toxins our bodies are daily exposed to is If you click first on Personal Care, and then on Common Hazardous Chemicals found in Personal Care Products, you will get a list of toxins to watch out for, including estrogen mimics.