Treehugger priorities: free sex over saving the world

Treehugger priorities: free sex over saving the world

So many women are taking birth control pills that they’re screwing up the environment. This isn’t a new story, at least for me. I heard this years ago, but it’s making news again. A report in Scientific American says that estrogen from birth control pills is flooding our water systems. American women take 12 million doses of birth control pills containing estrogen every day and eventually it passes through their systems into the water supply.

The April 17 Scientific American reported results of a study warning that “many streams, rivers and lakes already bear warning signs that the fish caught within them may also be carrying enough chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen to cause breast cancer cells to grow.”

“Fish are really a sentinel, just like canaries in the coal mine 100 years ago,” says Conrad Volz, co-director of exposure assessment at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Center for Environmental Ecology. “We need to pay attention to chemicals that are estrogenic in nature, because they find their way back into the water we all use.”

Apparently it’s a problem because the sewage treatment system doesn’t break down estrogen, which also happens to be found in hormone replacement therapy as well.

Imagine if this were not birth control, but some byproduct of fast food or gasoline-powered cars. Groups like PETA and Greenpeace and all the rest of the treehuggers would be demanding action, protesting, holding die-ins, throwing fake (and real) blood on corporate executives, and all the rest of the histrionics.

Cut down a redwood tree and dope-smoking, dreadlocked, unwashed hippies will camp on your doorstep. If there’s even a hint that rabbits or monkeys in labs are exposed not to danger but lack of comfort, they’ll burn our house down. But aquatic ecosystems are being flooded with an artificial chemical threatening some species with extinction due to the die-off of breeding males and you hear not a peep.

Because no one better mess with our right to have sex without consequences. Of course, we know that the no-consequences promise is a lie, don’t we?

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  • Duuude!

    I have long heard this also, but nobody will talk about it, because, well, it would undermine “womens sexual empowerment” and reduce them to “slaves of biology”.

    I am so sick of politics takeing the place of fact and reason!

  • Don’t be so cynical (pot sez to kettle). Maybe it is a way for some folks to rethink the whole birth control pill idea? 

    Though maybe it’s good for caviar production, eh?

  • What was the name of the Walker Percy book?  “The Thanatos Syndrome”?  They put something in the water in that one…

  • I just heard this discussed on a local news show on a radio station in Front Royal, Virginia, earlier this week.  This is a problem in the Shenandoah River and the water treatment plant cannot filter out the estrogen.  This is causing male fish to have female characteristics.  Scientists from several universities and institutes are studying samples taken from the river.  I can’t remember if they said that water treatment plants aren’t able to filter out the estrogen, or if they just haven’t been upgraded to be able to do this yet.

  • I’ve heard several stories of male fish becoming female, but they rarely mention it has something to do with estrogen in the water.

    This will continue to be an incredibly bad situation, because hormonal contraceptive use among generation Y is almost universal.

  • Since I am currently fighting breast cancer that feeds on estrogen, this has personal implications.  If and when it is ever determined that the increase in breast cancer is due to those water-borne hormones, will the message ever make it into the public domain?  I’m betting on a cover-up.

    Meanwhile, every time I drink a glass of water, I think about it.

    Didn’t one of the Marian apparitions predict a time after chastisement when the water would be cleaned up?  Oh, something like that anyway.  And I don’t remember if it was an approved apparition or not, in any case.

  • While I am biologist and not a doctor or chemist, I have somewhat of a pharmacy background. I do think that properly filtered water (i.e. Brita filtered) should be estrogen free.  It uses a charcoal filter.  I do know that charcoal tablets, which some use for health purposes, render oral contraceptives ineffective, presumably due to absorption of the excess estrogen produced by the body.  Also, the carbon matrix in charcoal can remove a molecule of lead and it would presumably remove estrogen which is much larger in size. 

    Removing estrogen is important to prevent not only cancers but interfering with our biology, both men’s and women’s.

    Again, I am not 100% certain of this but based on my background, I belive that this is very likely.