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Do Water Toxins Cause Birth Defects?

Blaming Birth-Control Pills For the Masculinity Crisis

With fish in DC's Potomac River increasingly displaying intersex traits, scientists are now pointing fingers at toxins found in products like birth-control pills.

The culprit, endocrine disruptor, comes from birth-control toxins released into water supplies, either through urine or whole pills flushed down toilets (more often than you'd think!). Yet the pill is not the sole perpetrator. Endocrine disruptors are also found in toiletries (especially those with fragrances), tissues with antibacterial agents, and consumer and agricultural products. They can be a weak form of estrogen, which is why developing males are affected most.

But amphibians are not the only species suffering; humans are, too. There's been an increase in the number of boys born with deformed genitalia. And while many of the problems at birth can be corrected, it's still quite scary. Now we're left to wonder what can happen after birth?


Last year Robert Lawrence, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins, told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof a curious thing. "A lot of these compounds act as weak estrogen," he said, "so that’s why developing males — whether smallmouth bass or humans — tend to be more sensitive."

Sensitive to what? Like light or life? Is this where the crisis of masculinity begins?

Join The Conversation
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
Me too, Betty Wayne. I'm glad hormonal birth control works for some women and I certainly don't think it should be outlawed, but I hate it and I get sick of being judged for choosing other methods. Any time I tell someone that I don't use the pill or some other hormonal pregnancy-preventer I get looks like I'm the biggest idiot ever. But, THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE! I am always safe and responsible, which is still a possibility through non-hormonal methods! Like SKG, I would think that one of the biggest culprits of hormones being flushed into our environment is food. The meat industry is pretty sick and I am very wary of hormonally pumped up meat. There really needs to be a food industry revolution. I find it sad that healthy options are so expensive. I buy locally as much as possible (there's lots of small, free-range, grass-fed ranches here), but I won't lie that it is a whole lot more $ than picking up the cheap stuff at Walmart. It's terrible that someone such as a single mother on welfare is forced to buy food that's essentially disgusting.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Birth control makes me feel neutered and miserable. Why would I want to potentially make an animal feel like that- with any chemical? I certainly don't think we should outlaw birth control... I'm against pumping man-made chemicals into my body in general.
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
This is terrifying.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I would be interested in finding out more about this. Most of the articles I have read are very biased (pushing an anti-pill, Catholic agenda; preaching birth control as the 'greatest evil of all time'). No doubt it has an impact on the environment, but aren't we already flushing a lot of other crap into the system? Don't some plastics contain estrogen too? Hormonal birth control may have side effects. Every medication has potential risks, along with benefits.
jocupcake jocupcake 7 years
To Anonymous, you should be able to find a doctor who will give you an IUD as long as you don't have any uterine abnormalities. Doctors will sometimes say that women who haven't given birth can't have an IUD but this is completely untrue.
jocupcake jocupcake 7 years
This is just one reason why I believe non-hormonal bc should be promoted more. The other is that hormonal methods can have serious and often permanent side effects for women (blood clots, cancer risks, raised insulin levels which might in fact contribute to developing PCOS, etc). The pill can be great but I think doctors (and researchers) need to pay more attention to the effect that it can have on the patient they are prescribing it to beyond just whether or not it will prevent pregnancy. I actually know 3 women who had drastic hair loss as a result of being on the pill (each on a different one). I don't know about you all but I think that is freaking scary! I like my hair! Of course, if this much can go wrong with women then it's pretty terrifying to think of the effects that runoff hormones can have on men. Is this the reason behind the metro-sexual takeoff? Although, did you know corsets were first used by men? Maybe guys have always been a little sensitive :o
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