It sounds kind of comical at first, but when you begin to grasp the greater implications of what this means for our world, it rapidly becomes scary.
Biologists had been counting alligators in Lake Apopka, Florida since the 1970’s and noticed a startling fact: near the end of the 80’s the population of alligators had significantly declined and the size of the male alligator’s penises were one-quarter of their normal size. They tested their testosterone levels and found them to be so low that the alligators were now sterile. When they once used to count up to 2000 alligators on the lake per evening, they now only counted 150.
It was soon discovered that thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals with DDT-containing pesticides had spilled into the lake in the 1980s. Unbeknownst to the poor alligators, pesticides act like estrogen mimickers in the body and were turning the male alligators into hermaphrodite creatures – more female-like with male ‘parts’.
So, how does this affect you and me? Many pollutants in our environment act like estrogen mimickers in the human body and are termed “xenoestrogens”. They come from a wide variety of sources: PCBs, pesticides, polycarbons in plastics, chlorine-containing compounds, fire retardants, synthetic estrogens in hormone-replacement therapy and the birth control pill, and also from the urine of women taking these drugs entering our water supply. These xenoestrogens are having the same effect as the pesticides that spilled into Lake Apopka had on the alligators: they are wreaking havoc! Since 1938, sperm counts in North America and countries around the world have decreased by an average of 50%, while testicular cancers has tripled. Women are affected as well. Xenoestrogens are hormonally disruptive in our body and have been tied to estrogen-dominance, a state in which the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio is too high. Estrogen-dominance has been implicated in endometriosis, fibroids, uterine cysts, infertility, and breast and uterine cancers.
As our environment changes, we must learn to change with it. Protect yourself by purchasing organic dairy, meat, and fruits and vegetables to reduce your pesticide burden. Seek out phthalate and paraben-free cosmetic products and refrain from using plastic water bottles; choose stainless steel instead. Never put plastic containers or plastic wrap in the microwave – a double-whammy with the electromagnetic radiation! As your skin is exposed to estrogenic compounds from laundry detergent that cling to clothes after the wash, choose natural laundry detergent to reduce your exposure to exogenous estrogens.
The more we can do to protect our body’s from the chemical soup in which we live, the happier and healthier we become!