So, Disaster Management & Sustainable Development is not a course to do if you want to feel good about the state of the world. I already knew that, but I am still learning lots. For example, one of my tutors is fairly sure that men will be infertile within 50 years, due to environmental estrogens. These are manufactured estrogens and have been shown to have effects on hormones and fertility and have even have effects on the sexualisation of fish: changing them from male to female.
Where are environmental estrogens found?
They have been produced by industrial, agricultural, and chemical companies and introduced into the environment for most of the 20th and 21st century. They can be found in food such as commercially raised beef, chicken and pork, and they have been used to increase milk production in dairy cows. Two food additives have also been suspected of altering hormones: propyl gallate and 4-hexyl resorcinol.
Pesticides used on fruit and vegetables and in the garden contain them, as well as household products like cleaners, air fresheners, paints, solvents, glues, varnishes, carpets, fibreboard, and other processed woods. Personal care, cosmetic products, nail polish and remover also contain them.
Lastly, they can be found in plastic containers for food and drink, including styrofoam and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, which were found to be leaching estrogens into the water inside.
Some conditions associated with environmental estrogen:
- Faster aging
- Autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythematosis. thyroiditis, and possibly Sjoegren’s disease
- Breast cancer
- Breast tenderness
- Cervical dysplasia
- Early onset of menstruation
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Fibromyalgia (thought by some to be related to estrogen dominance)
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Low sperm count
- Man Boobs (Gynecomastia)
- Premenopausal bone loss
- Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism
- Water retention
How do you reduce your exposure to environmental estrogen?
- Avoid buying food and drink in plastic containers, wrapping food in cling film, heating food up in plastic
- Use glass or ceramic containers to store food
- Replace your chemical based household cleaning products with natural products; avoid solvents; use natural pest control
- Buy hormone free or organic meat; avoid the fat on meat or poultry where the chemicals accumulate
- Buy organic fruit and vegetables where possible
- Eat a diet high in whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and low in processed food
- Avoid food and drink with artificial additives
- Use natural, chemical free cosmetics
- Avoid birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Use bio-identical hormones based on saliva, urine or blood tests done by a functional medicine doctor.
- Do not use spermacide
So there we are. Lots of fun facts about the state of the world we live in.