Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stress? Or endocrine disruption?

Newsflash. A common herbicide, atrazine, has been linked with endocrine disorders among some amphibians. Namely, it chemically castrates adult male frogs. (Among other things) And, it takes a very small level of exposure to do so.
How small? Well, according to Tyrone Hayes in this article, the amount required to cause damage is equivalent to the weight of 5 grains of salt divided by five thousand. And atrazine used in crops (mostly corn) not only contaminates the crops themselves, but the soil and groundwater around them. Runoff reaches rivers, streams and lakes which means that many aquatic ecospheres are affected. (Not to mention human drinking water.)
The problem was brought to light in 2002. Now, in 2009, the EPA has decided to take action and require...not that atrazine be banned, but that 67 chemicals contained in pesticides and herbicides be tested for their impact on the endocrine system and their potential harm to humans. Eventually, all chemicals will be required to undergo testing.

Theoretically, the next step would be to phase out the harmful chemicals, and replace them with...less harmful ones. And, at some point, clean up the mess left behind.

I wonder how long it will take them to look at the pervasive nature of corn in our current society, and examine it's relationship with endocrine and hormonal disorders among us? In February of 2002, researchers released information that corncob bedding inhibited the mating activity of lab rats, and caused problems with hormonal imbalance. The chemicals these problems were traced to are present in fresh corn and tortillas as well as the other words; humans are exposed as well. And I haven't found any good studies showing the affect of corn on our endocrine systems.

Perhaps the public will become more concerned if they trace the increased need for viagra to their corn stuffed mattress and super soft ingeo pillows? I suppose that's another symptom the professionals like to blame on stress...

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