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Gender Imbalance | First Water Now Plastics

Posted By Sarah Backhouse On February 20, 2008 @ 10:31 pm In Green Report / Media | No Comments

It’s old news that we’re in the midst of a Hollywood baby boom. But have you noticed that for every Suri, Violet, Shiloh and Harlow there’s only a Kingston or an occasional Jayden James to match?

Back in October, G Living reported a shocking gender imbalance among births in Russia, Greenland, and Canada, which was thought to be a result of toxins in the water. But the problem now seems bigger than we thought. And not just limited to remote bodies of water.

According to an article in this month’s Whole Food Times, industrial chemicals are, in fact, skewing the birth ratio in favor of girls. From the article entitled A World Without Men: “Last summer, a team of Scandinavian scientists announced that twice as many girls as boys are being born in the Arctic, a region said to serve as a “pollution sink” for the rest of the planet. Earlier in the year a report from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences determined that the ratio of male-to-female births has substantially dropped in the United States and Japan, yielding about 250,000 fewer boys than would have been born had the sex ratio circa 1970 endured.”

In both of these instances, environmental factors were at play — in particular, a class of synthetic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, the ingredients of which are found in plastics and pesticides like phthalate and bisphenol-A. “These commonplace compounds are known to mimic female hormones and thwart the production of testosterone” explains Shanna Swan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Like most endocrine disruptors, these were never tested on humans or the environment before turning up “in a dizzying array of everyday items, from laundry detergent and lipstick to water bottles and children’s toys.”

So, what can we do to minimize the impact? (Assming it’s not too late.) Stay away from plastics as much as possible. Not just Tupperware containers for our food but everything from our bedding to furniture to flooring. Same goes for pesticides. Eat organic whenever possible.

But even with precautions, there’s no guarantee exposure will be minimized. Says Swan, “These chemicals are so pervasive, and you’re probably not going to be able to eliminate them from your food, drinking water, house dust and air.”

Sobering news. And definitely something we may not feel the full impact of for years to come. Let’s just hope we’re not revisiting this story in another six months and adding airborne toxins to the list of causes…

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