Reproductive health

Pesticide Action Network's picture

New tests conducted by British scientists show that widely used agricultural pesticides disrupt male hormones, and may be contributing to a suite of reproductive disorders increasingly common among men.

Reduced sperm count, infertility and abnormal genitals are among the problems some scientists have dubbed “testicular dysgenesis syndrome.” This latest study greatly strengthens the evidence that these problems may be linked to environmental contaminants.

Kristin Schafer's picture

How does our food production system drive our exposure to toxic chemicals? Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) posed this question to members of its Environmental Health Policy Institute. A cohort of very smart and engaged health professionals and scientists responded.

The resulting collection of essays is thought-provoking and compelling — absolutely worth your time to explore. I encourage you to clear your desk and your mind, get yourself a fresh cup of (maybe organic?) coffee or tea, and dive in.

Karl Tupper's picture

Two studies came out in the last couple of weeks that really illustrate the problems associated with "PBT" chemicals: those which are simultaneously persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Persistent substances resist degradation — you can move them around but it's really hard to get rid of them. Bioaccumulation happens when chemicals in food, water, and air end up getting stored in the body of a living thing. Thus, for a bass living in a mercury polluted lake, the mercury levels in the fish may be thousands of times higher than the levels in the water. A cow grazing on PCB-laced feed will store the chemical in her body and excrete it in her milk, and humans too act as sinks for all kinds of chemicals.

Kristin Schafer's picture

Last week, researchers found a host of toxic chemicals in the bodies of pregnant women throughout the U.S. Industry reps quickly trotted out their favorite messages in response: "Chemicals are a fact of modern life," "just because toxins are in your body doesn't mean they'll hurt you," and "the levels are too low to matter - researchers have new tools that can measure extremely low levels." 

The fact is, low levels of chemicals in the womb can matter a whole lot. And studies like last week's make the chemical industry very, very nervous.

Karl Tupper's picture

Today it seems obvious that a woman's health directly impacts the well-being of her future child. Women thinking about becoming pregnant — or those who already are — are often careful not to smoke, drink or take certain drugs. Meanwhile, conventional wisdom says that a father's health can't have any direct impact on that of his child. But as described in the cover story of the January/February issue of Miller-McCune, conventional wisdom is wrong: Fathers do matter.