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Flushing BC Pills-Old Rx, The ‘Gender-bending’ chemicals found to ‘feminise’ boys and fish

Flushing BC Pills-Old Rx, The ‘Gender-bending’ chemicals found to ‘feminise’ boys and fish

Secret Potion
Drugs in our waterways

By Darcy Hitchcock
Most households have a box somewhere filled with old, unused, perhaps outdated drugs: the pain pills the dentist prescribed that, thank heaven, you didn’t need for more than the first day, the muscle relaxant that left you comatose, the ointment for that embarrassing rash, antique bottles of aspirin, and perhaps even prescriptions from your now deceased parent. What are you to do with these? Until recently, most municipalities would tell you to flush the pills down the toilet. The Health Department has always been concerned about diversion of medications: child poisonings, medications given to relatives, and in the case of controlled substances, concern about the illegal drug trade. Flushing the pills seemed a way to keep drugs out of the wrong hands, but no one was concerned about the environmental impacts associated with this practice.
What happens when you flush medications? The wastewater treatment center isn’t set up to filter out these drugs, so they end up in our waterways. The USGS did a sampling of waterways across the country and found a disturbing number of drugs and other pollutants: steroids, non-prescription medications, hormones as well as other products such as plasticizers, fire retardants, insect repellant and detergents. Even caffeine, dispensed by your local Starbucks instead ofthe pharmacy, pollutes our streams.
While some argue that these pollutants aren’t harming human health (yet, anyway), there is emerging evidence that they are harming various aquatic organisms. Scientists are finding male fish growing eggs on their testes, but since the fish are also being laced with Valium, perhaps they don’t have to be depressed about their compromised sex organs. Furthermore, new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that minute concentrations of antibiotics and other drugs, in a variety of combinations, can kill, disrupt, alter and disfigure the bodies and reproductive abilities of Daphnia, a small invertebrate considered a keystone of freshwater food chains. Scientists are finding impacts at much lower concentrations that usually assumed.
If we wait for the scientists to study the effects of every pharmaceutical pollutant on snails, salamanders and salmon (and I’m just listing the S’s), we will never solve the problem. This seems a prudent place for the Precautionary Principle. Few would think it was a good idea to have anti-depressants, birth control pills, narcotics, and antibiotics in our rivers. Can’t we at least reduce the amount that is ending up in Nature?more from Axis Performance Advisors, Inc
“Gender-bending” chemicals mimicking the female hormone oestrogen can disrupt the development of baby boys, suggests the first evidence linking certain chemicals in everyday plastics to effects in humans.

The chemicals implicated are phthalates, which make plastics more pliable in many cosmetics, toys, baby-feeding bottles and paints and can leak into water and food.

How to Avoid Phthalates In 3 Steps

Phthalates mimic hormones and have been linked to numerous health problems, but remain legal. Here’s how to avoid phthalates.

Phthalates are known as “endocrine disruptors” because they mimic the body’s hormones and have, in laboratory animal tests, been shown to cause reproductive and neurological damage. (California will ban the use of phthalates in toys and baby products as of 2009.)
Unfortunately, it’s not particularly easy to avoid phthalates.
You’ll rarely find the word “phthalates” on a label (except for the occasional “phthalate-free,” which is helpful).
Here are three tips for identifying products that have, or are likely to have, phthalates or another compound that has raised similar concerns and is found in similar products, Bisphenol A.
  1. Read the ingredients. According to the organization Pollution in People , you can identify phthalates in some products by their chemical names, or abbreviations:
    • DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in personal care products, including nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP, see below, is also in some personal care products.)
    • DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices.
    • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products.
    • DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics (as well as rocket propellant).
  2. Be wary of the term “fragrance,” which is used to denote a combination of compounds, possibly including phthatates, which are a subject of recent concern because of studies showing they can mimic certain hormones.
  3. Choose plastics with the recycling code 1, 2 or 5. Recycling codes 3 and 7 are more likely to contain bisphenol A or phthalates.
All previous studies suggesting these chemicals blunt the influence of the male hormone testosterone on healthy development of males have been in animals. “This research highlights the need for tougher controls of gender-bending chemicals,” says Gwynne Lyons, toxics adviser to the WWF, UK. Otherwise, “wildlife and baby boys will be the losers”.
In many ways our modern day ‘chemical wonderland’ has turned into a ‘chemical nightmare’, and few examples are more startling than those caused by the hormone disrupting artificial chemicals flooding our environment.
These troublesome chemicals go by many names, Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals (EDC), hormone impostors, sex-hormone pollution and gender-benders, but they all do the same thing: distort the reproductive organs of animal life. The pharmaceutical industry deliberately produces chemicals that affect these systems for medical reasons while the chemical industry does it accidentally; but neither one is willing to take any responsibility for the unintended consequences of their products.
But first some definitions. Within the human body the endocrine system includes important organs and tissues that produce and store hormones. These hormones are released directly into the bloodstream and act as signals to activate and regulate metabolism, the reproductive system and other critical functions. So an endocrine disruptor is a substance that interferes, damages or disrupts this natural process. Endocrine disruptors are sometimes called environmental hormones because they’re present in the environment, either naturally or from artificial sources (meaning pollution).
Endocrine disrupters are man-made chemicals which mimic those of the body’s hormonal system and potentially interfere with human and animal reproduction or development. [9]
Sex hormones are chemicals that affect the functions and development of the reproductive system. Environmental estrogens are those that mimic natural estrogen hormones. Environmental estrogens are chemicals that act like estrogen hormones in living organisms and are omnipresent within the environment.Furthermore, some chemicals actually block the process entirely and are called anti-estrogen (or anti-androgyn as applicable) compounds. Further complicating the picture, different chemicals can have different effects at the various life stages as well as on different species.more
The incriminating findings came from a study of 85 baby boys born to women exposed to everyday levels of phthalates during pregnancy. It was carried out by Shanna Swan at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, US, and colleagues.
As an index of feminisation, she measured the “anogenital distance” (AGD) between the anus and to the base of the penis. She also measured the volume of each boy’s penis. Earlier studies have shown that the AGD is twice in boys what it is in girls, mainly because in boys the hormone testosterone extends the length of the perineum separating the anus from the testicles.

Undescended testicles

In animals, AGD is reduced by phthalates – which mimic oestrogen – which keep testosterone from doing its normal job. At higher doses, animals develop more serious abnormalities such as undescended testicles and misplaced openings to the urethra on the penis – a group of symptoms called “phthalate syndrome” in animals.

Flushing birth control down the toilet is creating intersex fish in the Potomac

When Swan’s team measured concentrations of nine phthalate metabolites in the urine of pregnant women, they found that four were linked with shorter AGD in sons born to women showing high exposure levels.
Although none of the boys developed abnormal genitals, the quarter of mothers who were exposed to the highest concentrations of phthalates were much more likely to have had boys with short AGDs compared with the quarter of mothers who had the lowest exposures to the chemicals.
And although all the boys had genitals classified as “normal”, 21% of the boys with short AGDs had incomplete testicular descent, compared with 8% of other boys. And on average, the smaller the AGD, the smaller the penis.

Changing masculinisation

Swan believes that at higher exposures, boys may suffer from testicular dysgenesis syndrome – the human collection of more serious abnormalities which corresponds to “phthalate syndrome”.
“We’re not exactly seeing testicular dysgenesis syndrome, but a cluster of endpoints consistent with it,” said Swan on at an international conference on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in San Diego, US.
“If you see this, you’re very likely to see every other aspect of masculinisation changed too,” says Fred vom Saal, professor of reproductive biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, US.more
Thank you Brer Wulf for the embolden article       
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