ladies, start your vibrators

December 23, 2008

in Environmental issues

CHEM Trust recently released a report, Effects of Pollutants on the Reproductive Health of Male Vertebrate Wildlife – Males Under Threat  (overview, full report, both pdf).  It reviews the reported effects of environmental contaminants that act as endocrine disruptors, emphasizing impacts on male vertebrates. You know — low sperm count, deformed genitalia, feminization. 

The report is pretty straightforward, 48 pages including citations. But if you'd rather get it in a, ahem, nutshell The Independent extracted some of the lowlights: Half the male fish in British lowland rivers have been found to be developing eggs in their testes, 40% of Florida cane toads from heavily farmed areas were hermaphrodites, male Herring Gulls and Peregrine Falcons have produced the female protein used to make egg yolks, male deer with undescended testicles. Not all abnormalities were directly tied to environmental contamination (the Florida panther example is particularly tenuous), but there are enough studies cited to make you very uncomfortable.

The Independent article notes sliding human sperm counts, sex ratios shifting towards females in heavily polluted countries, and a New York study indicating sons of women who had raised levels of phthalates were more likely to have smaller penises, undescended testicles, and a shorter distance between their anus and genitalia, "a classic sign of feminisation," according to the piece. (That sentence should boost my flagging Google search hits.)

One author concluded, perhaps a bit tongue in cheek, "This research shows that the basic male tool kit is under threat." 

Read more in a book I routinely recommend to friends, Theo Colburn's Our Stolen Future



DNLee December 23, 2008 at 10:13 am

wow this is crazy – not the results or the study – the fact that this stuff is happening.

farlane December 24, 2008 at 7:21 am

Yeah, you'll get some clicks with that title.

Scary stuff indeed.

Jenn December 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm


Angela January 1, 2009 at 8:10 am

That is completely terrifying- the Independents title is Men are Really the weaker Sex – and as much as I might agree with that I still like my men to be very male…It would be sad if this would be our undoing.

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