Feb 08, 2010
Chemical Foreign Estrogens ( Xenoestrogens )
Around the world, there are approximately 100,000 different synthetic chemicals on the market. Some of them mimic estrogen in the human body.One classic estrogen mimic is DDT. In 1950, two Syracuse University biologists, in an experiment, gave injections of DDT to baby roosters. The roosters grew up looking like hens. Unfortunately, the U.S. still produces 96 tons of DDT a year (in 1991) and exports it to third world countries. Then we consume DDT on imported produce. DDT is stored in the fat, notably the breast fat. The breast fat may concentrate a form of DDT up to 700 times than that of the blood. Blood levels of a form of DDT can typically be measured in the blood at several parts to tens of parts per billion.
When I first saw levels of parts per billion, I thought it was too low to worry about. Unfortunately, our human body operates on tens of parts per trillion. In other words, some of these chemical estrogens may be found routinely at levels one hundred times the concentration of our own hormones.
Imagine a baseball glove representing a receptor for estrogen. Think of the glove waiting to catch a ball. DDT is represented by one hundred shiny plastic balls. One watermelon representing your human estradiol. Which one does the glove catch?
Chemical Foreign Estrogens ( Xenoestrogens ) Cause Breast Cancer
New research by Soto, M.D. at Tufts University medical school in 1991 showed that chemical additives that make plastics last longer have estrogen stimulating effects on breast cancer cells in the test tube at parts per billion. Plastic test tubes with a new plastisizer stimulated breast cancer cells to grow wildly. Stanford University professors found a similar effect from an additive, bis-phenol A, used in polycarbonate water bottles. Bis-phenol A is also used in dental filling composites. Spanish researchers even found that some of the varnish sprayed in food cans (to prevent the "metal" taste) leached into the food. This slightly tainted food contained more than enough estrogen mimicking chemical to stimulate breast cancer cells in the test tube to grow rapidly. The above chemicals with estrogen mimicking effects are a class of chemicals known as alkylphenols.
English researchers studied a profusion of hermaphrodite trout in the English rivers. They found that the sewage effluent draining into the river contained detergent breakdown productsthat stimulated estrogen receptors creating the hermaphrodite trout. Female trout were found in the rivers. No male trout were found - only trout halfway between male and female.
In 2004, 42% of male bass in the potomac river near Washington DC were found to be producing eggs. Researchers highly suspect hormone disrupting chemicals in the river are causing male bass to be sort of female. This also mirrors a similar study that found feminized male Colorado fish called White Suckers in the river below a sewage treatment plant. As of 2004, little is done to test for these chemicals -- either in river water or in drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not set standards, saying more research is needed to determine which contaminants are harmful and what levels are unsafe.
Some alligator populations are having trouble reproducing because the male penises are too small (blush!). The female alligator ovaries had used up all their eggs prematurely ("burned out"). Researchers have implicated chemical hormone disrupters.
Agricultural Foreign Estrogens
Agriculture typically uses artificial estrogen compounds to fatten up cattle and chicken quickly. Estrogen also stimulates the retention of water giving a heavier weight and tender meat. Some proponents say that the artificial estrogen compounds disappear from the urine in a matter of days and the animals are then free of artificial hormones. Other opponents say the artificial estrogens are stored in the fat and then eaten by consumers.
In 1970's and 1980's, an epidemic of early puberty girls as young as a year old in Puerto Rico began menstruating after eating meat and dairy products with high amounts of estrogens. Some young boys developed breasts.
Women are now beginning to menstruate in the United States at age 10. The age of menarche used to be 16. Authorities have insisted that this is normal for a population with good nutrition. Is it?
15% Girls aged 8 sprouting pubic hair and breast buds?
Women are now beginning to menstruate in the United States at age 10. The age of menarche used to be 16. Authorities have insisted that this is normal for a population with good nutrition. Is it? Herman-Giddons in a landmark study done in 1997 published in Pediatrics showed that out of 17,000 girls, 15% aged 8 years old began to show signs of puberty in the United States. See the Time Magazine article! The Time Magazine article points a finger at chemicals in our environment that mimic estrogen.