Nancy Oden

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Published by the Machias Valley News Observer — July 5, 2009

Poisoning Our Babies

by Nancy Oden

On June 28, the New York Times published an article stating what many people already knew from experience: that pesticides are harming babies even before they're born.

On June 23 Environmental Health News published scientific studies on damage to humans by the pesticide (herbicide) Roundup, Monsanto Chemical Company's heavily-advertised lead product.

Monsanto used to say — until it was sued — that Roundup is "safe when used as directed." However, neither Roundup nor any other pesticide is ever safe. Federal law forbids anyone to make that claim. And Roundup is far from "safe."

This brief piece just touches the surface of the articles referenced. To read the original articles, go to the originating websites:

    1. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/opinion/28kristof.html?th&emc=th
       
    2. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/roundup-weed-killer-is-toxic-to-human-cells.-study-intensifies-debate-over-inert-ingredients
       
    3. and another on Roundup, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup.

The gist of the New York Times article is that endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which imitate estrogen (female hormone), are disrupting the sexuality and fertility of humans and many other life forms.

Most, if not all, pesticides contain some form of chlorine. Chlorine chemistry synthesizes dioxins, endocrine-disrupting chemicals lasting up to hundreds of years. As tens of thousands of boy babies which would have been expected to be born have not showed up, scientists now have realized that endocrine-disrupting chemicals have invaded female uteruses while they were carrying babies.

If boy fetuses do not get the exact amount of progesterone and testosterone at exactly the right time in their fetal development, they may have tiny penises and thus be mistaken for girl babies.

Or they will simply end up as actual females, albeit perhaps a bit masculinized. Or they will have holes in their penises from which their urine dribbles (called hypospadias). Most parents do not speak of this but attempt to have the abnormality corrected surgically so as not to stigmatize the child, but hormone disruption can cause many problems throughout the boy babies' lives, including deformed sperm and/or very low sperm counts.

Conversely, female babies exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may develop endometriosis, wherein uterine tissue (acts the same as the uterus) spreads throughout the abdominal cavity, sometimes attaching to other organs and growing. This tissue cramps and bleeds every month when the uterus sheds its lining of blood during the female menstruation.

Endometriosis is a painful affliction which often cannot be cured; it also affects females' ability to become pregnant. Endometriosis used to be quite rare, but now it's common due to endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure.

Also, the human male sperm count is declining by about 1-2 percent a year due to endocrine-disrupting and other toxic chemicals. All species on earth which have been exposed to these chemicals-and these chemicals are ubiquitous-also have lowered and still lowering sperm counts.

None of this bodes well for the survival of humans and other species. Use of these chemicals, as any sane person surely will acknowledge, must end.

This reporter recommends you read the articles, and then speak up. Our future is at stake, and this is not said lightly.


Nancy Oden's email is and website is www.cleanearth.net

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