Endocrine disrupters not only cause male sterility, but cancers, thyroid problems, obesity, ADHD, diabetes, alzheimers, spontaneous abortions, learning disabilities, deformities, feminization of men, and more. One reason they cause so much trouble is that they mimic our own hormone systems, but give the wrong directions.
As I am sure you know, our government rarely has “enough” information on these things to shut them down and fails to require advance testing by an independent laboratory before letting the big chemical companies put these things into the market economy. And when I say market economy, I include our food, water, air and soil.
What are some endocrine disrupters in our food supply?
Organophosphate pesticides (OPs). These neurotoxins were developed by the Nazis in WWII to kill people. After the war many of these scientists were brought to the United States and adopted into our own chemical industry. They brought these neurotoxins with them and they began using them to kill insects. Note that they still kill people per the original intent.
OPS are one of the most common causes of poisoning on the planet. The EPA says they are acutely toxic to bees, wildlife, and humans, yet they have not been banned. For example, Parathion was banned by 2003 and replaced by Malathion which is the most common OP now in use. In addition, one million pounds of Diazinon is used every year. Although these neurotoxins degrade quicker in the environment than most toxins, they have greater acute toxicity and cause irreversible damage.
What damage? A brief list: interferes with testosterone communication and lowers testosterone levels; thyroid dysfunction and cancer; impaired memory; ADHD; depression; confusion; alzheimers. This is not a comprehensive list.
How to protect yourself: do not buy or use these products, they are as toxic to you as to garden insects; buy or grow organic produce.
Arsenic. Arsenic is an incredibly toxic element, and is most toxic in its inorganic form. It is a bioaccumulator and does not go away. Children and pets have died from playing in arsenic soils.
Recent problems with high levels of arsenic in rice have been linked to “pollution” but little mention has been made to how that pollution arrived in American rice paddies.
Cotton was king in the southern US for many years. One chemical innovation offered to farmers was defoliation of cotton plants prior to picking cotton bolls, using arsenic. Quite effective in defoliation, for sure, and even better at creating millions of acres of toxic soils.
Some crops mostly bypass arsenic, but rice is a super accumulator of arsenic. Pretty nifty as a bioaccumulator if used to accumulate arsenic and recycle it into pure arsenic and clean soil. Not so much when the arsenic-laced rice is turned into rice products for newborn babies and stir fried rice for you.
I have read marketing blurbs by rice farmers saying their arsenic levels have dropped dramatically in recent years. Well yes, every year they feed arsenic-laced rice to innocent consumers, it does improve their soil/arsenic balance.
Aside from the ethics issues of southern rice farmers, if your yard or garden was ever cotton fields, you could be feeding your family arsenic. You can easily have soil tested for arsenic. If so, do not panic, be careful. Plant arsenic bioaccumulator plants for a couple years and dispose of the biomass. Your soil arsenic will drop into normal ranges. I remediated my 14 acres in Texas before planting a garden. It took 3 summers to have healthy soil. Soil arsenic testing is a good idea prior to purchase of land in the south. It is a good negotiating tool and arsenic can be remediated.
What damage? At levels much lower than fatal, arsenic is also a hormone disrupter. Its main disruption is in the glucocorticoid system, which regulates body sugar and carbohydrate processing. leading to diabetes. High blood pressure, immune system suppression, osteoporosis, cancers (skin, bladder, lung).
How to protect yourself: water filters that remove arsenic, test your soil, grow a garden. Find a rice source that is grown in soil tested for arsenic.
Atrazine. I covered this jewel of the corn industry in an earlier blog. When this product was banned in Europe, Syngenta sweet talked the US government into allowing its use in the US. Corn is a major crop and Atrazine is used on 85% of our corn and corn products are in most processed foods.
Atrazine rain has polluted everything around corn fields and this toxin does not beak down easily in the environment.
What damage? Missouri is famous in medical circles for male sterility from Atrazine. Breast tumors, prostate inflammation, cancer, are a few issues. There are more.
How to protect yourself: buy a water filter that removes Atrazine; buy organic produce. Relocate if you want children.
This is not a comprehensive list of endocrine disrupters, just those that are commonly related to your food supply and that might impact your garden. For a more comprehensive list just Google “endocrine disrupters” and you may see one you are exposed to regularly. You can be tested for these toxins and knowledge may impact treatment.