A recent study shows that phthalates present in pregnant women result in their boy babies having smaller less developed genitals. There is further concern that as the boys grow up, they may be affected with late puberty, lower testosterone levels and sperm count, and be more susceptible to testicular cancer.
Phthalates are solvents, coatings, perfume fixatives, and plasticizers (added to PVC plastic in order to make it more flexible). Phthalates are found in plastic bottles, food containers, and they are found extensively in children’s toys.
Phthalates are also found in hundreds of other products, such as hair spray, coatings on time-released medicines, soap, shampoo, nail polish, hair sprays, detergents, and vinyl floor coverings, as well as pesticides.
Most testing up to now has been done on Nitridex animals, and phthalates have been shown to be carcinogenic and to cause fetal deformity and death, as well as reproductive toxicity (in women, toxemia is a condition of pregnancy where the presence of the baby is actually poisonous to the mother). The recent study is alarming because it reflects the results of the animal testing, but in most cases the levels of the phthalates in the baby boys and their mothers was at a lower percentage than in the comparable lab mice, yet the results were as dramatic.
Lawmakers in California and New York are already looking into banning the phthalates indicated in the studies. Meanwhile, the best advice from one of the authors of the study, Christine Ternand, a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Minnesota, was for pregnant women to avoid phthalates as much as possible — a feat that the doctor admitted would not be a simple one, considering that phthalates are also in the air and soil.
Another study shows that chemicals found in common pesticides mimic female hormones when ingested and consequently reduce male sperm count. Since the end of World War II, scientists have been studying the effects of chemical pesticides on both human and animal populations, and their findings are disturbing.
Southern California sea gulls are losing their interest in breeding. Male sea gulls are apathetic, and female sea gulls try to nest together. The more pollutants in their bodies, the more they tend to exhibit this unusual behavior.
In Central Florida, male alligators hatching in Lake Apopka have penises only one quarter the normal size, and their low testosterone levels almost guarantee sterility. The pesticide at the root of the alligators’ problem is dicofol, which is legally used on the strawberries and raisins that we eat.
The Missouri and Mississippi rivers are full of PCB and DDT which have caused a species of sturgeon to become completely asexual. The fishes’ gonads are neither male nor female, and haven’t been for well over fifteen years.
Certainly, if the environment of America’s wildlife is full of pesticides, American’s men and women are not escaping the same ill effects. In fact, studies over the last 30 years have shown strong connections between men’s and women’s reproductive health issues and environmental toxins. Breast cancer rates are greater in women with higher amounts of pesticides in their systems; the pesticides are actually concentrated within the malignant tissues (when compared to healthier nearby tissues).
The number of boys with undescended testicles nearly doubled between the 1940’s and 1970’s in Britain, and in Denmark during that same time period, testicular cancer rose nearly four times higher. More recently, a multitude of studies on semen quality showed that average sperm count had dropped by more than 50%, and the decrease had nothing to do with age. The common factor cited by researchers was environmental pesticides.
What the chemicals in the pesticides do is to mimic estrogen inside of the body. High levels of estrogen in women is linked to breast cancer, and in men it is linked to distortion of male characteristics, i.e. feminization and infertility. In both cases, the chemicals in pesticides are deadly.
There are a number of steps that you can take against this slow poison. Probably the most important is being educated, and petitioning legislators to cut back and/or eliminate chemicals in farming.
- BUY ORGANIC. Research has shown that men who eat food grown without the use of pesticides have as much as twice the sperm count of their pesticide-consuming counterparts.
- EAT FIBER. One of the reasons that a high fiber diet aids in the prevention of colon cancer is because the fiber itself absorbs toxins and carries them out of the body at a faster rate. Also, because fiber absorbs cholesterol and thus reduces the levels in the body, it prevents absorption of much of the estrogenic chemicals because cholesterol is required for the production of hormones.
- EAT CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES such as broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. These foods also reduce the metabolism of estrogen.
- EAT PHYTOESTROGENS. This is a plant form of estrogenic substance, and it is found in all soy products, including tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and edemame (the green soybeans often found in the frozen food section). Plant estrogens displace the toxic estrogen. A study in Japan showed that those who eat high levels of soy have the lowest risk of breast cancer.
- EAT VEGETARIAN. Heavy meat eaters tend to have more incidences of reproductive organ cancers.
- ELIMINATE PLASTIC FOOD PACKAGING. Instead, wrap foods with unbleached paper, and store in glass containers. If plastic bags are unavoidable, protect the food with unbleached paper towels inside the bag, against the food.
- SUPPLEMENT WITH ANTIOXIDANTS. Studies show that antioxidants protect sperm from environmental toxins.
Nutritional supplements are not intended to be a substitute for proper diet, but the right ones taken in the right doses will make a huge difference in a person’s state of health.