Developing into extinction

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,455
Athens, Greece
#1
During the last century, our technological and scientific progress has been immense. We advanced chemistry and used its breakthroughs in almost every aspect of life. We found ways (pesticides, fertilizers) to improve the agricultural production and feed more people. We created products on a mass scale that improve our daily life, or simply serve our vanity. We introduced medicines widely used that are essential to our survival, like antibiotics, and others, like the contraceptive pill that are crucial to our societies, but didn't care enough for their safe disposal and removal from natural cycles. We even use antibiotics to improve the output of the meat industry.

The problem with all this chemical euphoria is that, aside from the obvious benefits, there are serious side-effects to which we were oblivious up to a certain point, or simply choose to ignore for various reasons.

Aside from the direct and obvious threats that pollution poses to nature and mankind (acute and chronic poisoning, carcinogenesis), there are other, more insidious results. Many of the chemical compounds widely used are hormone mimickers, resembling the chemical structure of our endogenous hormones, mainly the female ones. When those chemicals enter our bodies, they disrupt the hormonal balance of both sexes, and if exposure is extensive, the results are cumulative and often devastating.

There are strong indications that this 'hormonal flood' may be the reason behind the explosion of breast cancer in women, and to a lesser degree, of prostate cancer in men. Both are diseases strongly related to, and affected by, hormones and hormone mimickers.
Breast cancer is increasingly becoming an epidemic in Western countries, with an estimated risk of 1 in 8 women likely to develop the disease at some point in their life. Statistically, each female born in Europe, North America and Australia has a 12% probability of developing breast cancer, with certain risk factors increasing this number.
*An appeal to females reading this: Ladies, please, please do not neglect your mammary examinations. And don't wait 'till after the age of 40. Younger and younger women are affected by the disease.

More and more couples experience fertility problems, and the effect of chemicals on the potency of sperm is suspected as a main reason. A disheartening decrease of birth rates in industrial nations is not only a result of social factors, but may well be a result of inability due to hormone mimickers' pollution. More and more couples have to resort to medical help to be able to bear a child.

Our world is being feminised. Wildlife and humans alike are bombarded with female hormones, endangering not only health, but also the proper function of the male gender, and ultimately, life itself. Some articles:

Feminizing The World

BBC NEWS | Health | Plastic chemicals 'feminise boys'

Welcome to Menoqueen!

New Frontier: Pesticide Pestilence

Feminized male fish abundant in American rivers - Animal News: Animal Planet

Something in the water is feminizing male fish. Are we next? // Current TV


As for the causes and possible solutions, that's a long and perhaps controversial discussion. But I think it needs to be done, and soon. Some thoughts, to initiate discussion:

In poor countries, extensive use of cheap means to development is the only affordable option, and precaution for future risks is just a luxury. It will take a co-ordinated global effort to substitute these methods and the support of richer and more developed countries.

Greed, mainly corporate one, is a very strong force against switching to a more costly, less profitable model of development. A capitalist model constantly requiring more and more growth, regardless of the impact on nature and life, is costing us dearly in human lives and endangering the planet.
Not that other forms of development are innocent of environmental crimes; some of the worse were committed by the 'communist' governments of Soviet Union and China.
The key word is regulation, strict, determined, and if possible applied worldwide, at least on crucial health and environmental issues.

It may be a human characteristic to seek results 'here and now', rush headlong down a path, and leave future implications for others. But we need to reconsider. There can be viable models of development, less impressive and more costly perhaps, but far safer for mankind and our natural world. The way humanity reacted to the ozone depletion ([ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol]Montreal Protocol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]) is an indication of what we can achieve if determined. I remain an optimist, that eventually we won't "develop into extinction". I just hope that this model of hurried, inconsiderate development will be terminated, as soon as possible, and the 'chemical storm' we live in dissipates. And, unable to suppress a sense of grief, I do hope that we won't sacrifice any more lives in this kind of frenzied, almost hybristic race.



PS:There is a thriving market of organic products, free of pesticides, fertilisers, hormones, and other chemical residues. Not only food products, but also cosmetics, cleaning products, paints, etc. There are even whole houses constructed and furnished with as less harmful chemical encumbrance as possible. The problem is that all these
'privileges' cost a lot more than normal, and they can't be afforded by the majority. Class distinction applies to health as well. Nothing new there, of course.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,455
Athens, Greece
#2
There was an interesting article in the Independent, but for some reason the link doesn't work. Instead, I will copy it from another source:


It's official: Men really are the weaker sex

The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals.


The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

Backed by some of the world's leading scientists, who say that it "waves a red flag" for humanity and shows that evolution itself is being disrupted, the report comes out at a particularly sensitive time for ministers. On Wednesday, Britain will lead opposition to proposed new European controls on pesticides, many of which have been found to have "gender-bending" effects.

It also follows hard on the heels of new American research which shows that baby boys born to women exposed to widespread chemicals in pregnancy are born with smaller penises and feminised genitals.

"This research shows that the basic male tool kit is under threat," says Gwynne Lyons, a former government adviser on the health effects of chemicals, who wrote the report.

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them.

Many have been identified as "endocrine disrupters" – or gender-benders – because they interfere with hormones. These include phthalates, used in food wrapping, cosmetics and baby powders among other applications; flame retardants in furniture and electrical goods; PCBs, a now banned group of substances still widespread in food and the environment; and many pesticides.

The report – published by the charity CHEMTrust and drawing on more than 250 scientific studies from around the world – concentrates mainly on wildlife, identifying effects in species ranging from the polar bears of the Arctic to the eland of the South African plains, and from whales in the depths of the oceans to high-flying falcons and eagles.

It concludes: "Males of species from each of the main classes of vertebrate animals (including bony fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) have been affected by chemicals in the environment.

"Feminisation of the males of numerous vertebrate species is now a widespread occurrence. All vertebrates have similar sex hormone receptors, which have been conserved in evolution. Therefore, observations in one species may serve to highlight pollution issues of concern for other vertebrates, including humans."

Fish, it says, are particularly affected by pollutants as they are immersed in them when they swim in contaminated water, taking them in not just in their food but through their gills and skin. They were among the first to show widespread gender-bending effects.

Half the male fish in British lowland rivers have been found to be developing eggs in their testes; in some stretches all male roaches have been found to be changing sex in this way. Female hormones – largely from the contraceptive pills which pass unaltered through sewage treatment – are partly responsible, while more than three-quarters of sewage works have been found also to be discharging demasculinising man-made chemicals. Feminising effects have now been discovered in a host of freshwater fish species as far away as Japan and Benin, in Africa, and in sea fish in the North Sea, the Mediterranean, Osaka Bay in Japan and Puget Sound on the US west coast.

Research at the University of Florida earlier this year found that 40 per cent of the male cane toads – a species so indestructible that it has become a plague in Australia – had become hermaphrodites in a heavily farmed part of the state, with another 20 per cent undergoing lesser feminisation. A similar link between farming and sex changes in northern leopard frogs has been revealed by Canadian research, adding to suspicions that pesticides may be to blame.

Male alligators exposed to pesticides in Florida have suffered from lower testosterone and higher oestrogen levels, abnormal testes, smaller penises and reproductive failures. Male snapping turtles have been found with female characteristics in the same state and around the Great Lakes, where wildlife has been found to be contaminated with more than 400 different chemicals. Male herring gulls and peregrine falcons have produced the female protein used to make egg yolks, while bald eagles have had difficulty reproducing in areas highly contaminated with chemicals.

Scientists at Cardiff University have found that the brains of male starlings who ate worms contaminated by female hormones at a sewage works in south-west England were subtly changed so that they sang at greater length and with increased virtuosity.

Even more ominously for humanity, mammals have also been found to be widely affected.

Two-thirds of male Sitka black-tailed deer in Alaska have been found to have undescended testes and deformed antler growth, and roughly the same proportion of white-tailed deer in Montana were discovered to have genital abnormalities.

In South Africa, eland have been revealed to have damaged testicles while being contaminated by high levels of gender-bender chemicals, and striped mice from one polluted nature reserved were discovered to be producing no sperm at all.

At the other end of the world, hermaphrodite polar bears – with penises and vaginas – have been discovered and gender-benders have been found to reduce sperm counts and penis lengths in those that remained male. Many of the small, endangered populations of Florida panthers have been found to have abnormal sperm.

Other research has revealed otters from polluted areas with smaller testicles and mink exposed to PCBs with shorter penises. Beluga whales in Canada's St Lawrence estuary and killer whales off its north-west coast – two of the wildlife populations most contaminated by PCBs – are reproducing poorly, as are exposed porpoises, seals and dolphins.

Scientists warned yesterday that the mass of evidence added up to a grave warning for both wildlife and humans. Professor Charles Tyler, an expert on endocrine disrupters at the University of Exeter, says that the evidence in the report "set off alarm bells". Whole wildlife populations could be at risk, he said, because their gene pool would be reduced, making them less able to withstand disease and putting them at risk from hazards such as global warming.

Dr Pete Myers, chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, one of the world's foremost authorities on gender-bender chemicals, added: "We have thrown 100, 000 chemicals against a finely balanced hormone system, so it's not surprising that we are seeing some serious results. It is leading to the most rapid pace of evolution in the history of the world.

Professor Lou Gillette of Florida University, one of the most respected academics in the field, warned that the report waved "a large red flag" at humanity. He said: "If we are seeing problems in wildlife, we can be concerned that something similar is happening to a proportion of human males"

Indeed, new research at the University of Rochester in New York state shows that boys born to mothers with raised levels of phthalates were more likely to have smaller penises and undescended testicles. They also had a shorter distance between their anus and genitalia, a classic sign of feminisation. And a study at Rotterdam's Erasmus University showed that boys whose mothers had been exposed to PCBs grew up wanting to play with dolls and tea sets rather than with traditionally male toys.

Communities heavily polluted with gender-benders in Canada, Russia and Italy have given birth to twice as many girls than boys, which may offer a clue to the reason for a mysterious shift in sex ratios worldwide. Normally 106 boys are born for every 100 girls, but the ratio is slipping. It is calculated that 250,000 babies who would have been boys have been born as girls instead in the US and Japan alone.

And sperm counts are dropping precipitously. Studies in more than 20 countries have shown that they have dropped from 150 million per millilitre of sperm fluid to 60 million over 50 years. (Hamsters produce nearly three times as much, at 160 million.) Professor Nil Basu of Michigan University says that this adds up to "pretty compelling evidence for effects in humans".

But Britain has long sought to water down EU attempts to control gender-bender chemicals and has been leading opposition to a new regulation that would ban pesticides shown to have endocrine-disrupting effects. Almost all the other European countries back it, but ministers – backed by their counterparts from Ireland and Romania – are intent on continuing their resistance at a crucial meeting on Wednesday. They say the regulation would cause a collapse of agriculture in the UK, but environmentalists retort that this is nonsense because the regulation has get-out clauses that could be used by British farmers.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/its-official-men-really-are-the-weaker-sex-1055688.html
 
Sep 2011
24,135
------------
#3
Very nice thread here Solidaire, and a subject that more people should probably discuss.

I am against the use of anitbiotics and growth hormones in animals, although I think UK laws are slightly better than the USA, if I recall such things correctly. What are the laws like in Greece for such things? Anyway, I say against, but do I eat foods that contain these chemicals? Of course! It is simply far too expensive to eat truly healthy, I just to eat cheap basic food now, there is no way in hell I could afford to buy all the best foods, not even in small doses.

There is a theory that many cancers are due to the hormones in dairy products. I guess it is something we will never truly realise until it is too late, which for some people it already is. Having had a cancer scare already at 29, I spent weeks believing I was going to die, luckily I was OK, but it was only pure luck - for many the results are devastating. Sometimes I think I should do more to try and prevent it from happening, if it happens again, next time it may be bad news, yet what can I do seriously? Not only it is impossible to afford such luxury items as organic fruit and vegetables and eggs and meat etc. But we see kids and people who seem to be of perfect health, develop cancer and die, do we truly know enough about how to avoid this monsterous disease? There is so much more to it than we think.

I did not realise that human chemicals were affecting the fish in regards to gender bending, but it does not surprise me. We have messed with the food chain too much. We bring animals to extinction, poison the earth and our waters, clutter space with satellites (aka orbital debris) and junk metal, land fill, sewage... humans just want to exaust all of the earths resources for it's own benefits, vanity and greed and does not care less about the future.

Another frightening fact is the use of antibiotics for minor elements that has been so exausted over recent years that strains of bacterias have become resistent to it. No wonder (for example) I hear people frequently walking and talking, laughing, yet they have a few sniffles, and in their hand they have antibiotics - this is looked upon as normal. Why would doctors be handing antibiotics out to people with a few sniffles or sore throat when antibiotics do not even work against colds in the first place? Now our hospitals have deadly strains of bacteria that are resistent.

I think the leaders of this world would have to lose their own manhood before they give a damn about such things to be honest.:) It is a sad fact, but the world is run by the few, the majority just want to get along with daily life living in their bubble wearing rose tinted glasses, whilst the rest, people, see it, but really, there is nothing I can do about it, but I hold my hat off to anyone that can.




Marine Debris - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch"]Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]









North America.




Manilla, Philippines.





Nurdles you can read about here [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_particle_water_pollution"]Plastic particle water pollution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] and here are some pictures.






For some effects on wildlife that ingest plastics.







Nevermind scenes like this.


 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,455
Athens, Greece
#4
I am against the use of anitbiotics and growth hormones in animals, although I think UK laws are slightly better than the USA, if I recall such things correctly. What are the laws like in Greece for such things?

Another frightening fact is the use of antibiotics for minor elements that has been so exausted over recent years that strains of bacterias have become resistent to it. No wonder (for example) I hear people frequently walking and talking, laughing, yet they have a few sniffles, and in their hand they have antibiotics - this is looked upon as normal. Why would doctors be handing antibiotics out to people with a few sniffles or sore throat when antibiotics do not even work against colds in the first place? Now our hospitals have deadly strains of bacteria that are resistent.
I don't know enough to compare to other countries, but I'm guessing they are similar to those applying in the UK, and in line with EU legislation.
The encouraging thing is that there are a great deal of organic farms here (probably because of the weather), and prices tend to fall in those products. In many cases, they are only slightly more expensive than the 'normal' ones. Except for meat; organic meat has double the price of non-organic one (which is expensive as it is).

However, Greece is a champion in the abuse of antibiotics (by people). Most of them are prescribe-free, and people tend to use them for simple colds (just like you said). Greece is a champion in antibiotic resistance.

Anyway, I say against, but do I eat foods that contain these chemicals? Of course! It is simply far too expensive to eat truly healthy, I just to eat cheap basic food now, there is no way in hell I could afford to buy all the best foods, not even in small doses.
Yes, that is the problem. Most people ignore there are dangers in mainstream products, and of those who don't, few can afford the alternative.
It requires governments' interference to protect and improve public health, market forces alone cannot tip the scale in favour of alternative methods of production.

Certain measures have already been taken. For example, DDT, an incredibly resistant and harmful insecticide, has been banned for decades now, although it was extensively used before. It is still traced in humans though, passed from maternal milk to infants, generation after generation. It may quite possibly be inside us as we speak, even though we were born many years after its last use.

Other chemicals have also been banned from agriculture, but others still remain, and new are introduced. There is a constant struggle to balance financial interests and public health. I am hopeful, and I believe that in the future what we now call "organic products" will be the normal, at least in developed countries.

There is a theory that many cancers are due to the hormones in dairy products. I guess it is something we will never truly realise until it is too late, which for some people it already is. Having had a cancer scare already at 29, I spent weeks believing I was going to die, luckily I was OK, but it was only pure luck - for many the results are devastating. Sometimes I think I should do more to try and prevent it from happening, if it happens again, next time it may be bad news, yet what can I do seriously?
If I may ask, what was this cancer scare? You are too young...

If you don't want to reply, simply ignore my question, I will understand of course. :)
 
Sep 2011
24,135
------------
#6
No interest, except for one member? Oh well, another topic to blog.

Bri, thanks for caring. :)
Caring is one thing, changing things is another, unfortunately I can't do both.... By the way, I will reply to your comment today.:)

I know how you feel, I made a two threads recently, one about Plato's Simile of the Cave ... and I had hardly any interest at all.:crying::sad:
 

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
#7
One reason the debate are not that intense may be many of us see little prospect of any solutions. I too see big problems, and do not believe much in an idea the world (us) will by itself "behave well". The best approach, i think, to future solutions is an approach few at the moment find very attractive. It is one were a group of nations (or international organisations - or even industries) with sufficient economic "weight" makes their own "deal", but not one were they "sacrifice themselves to the common good." without consequences for the rest. The "consequences" I have in mind would include some sanctions upon non-participants, and if they are to be effective then there is little prospect those "hit" would be very upset, to put it mild. We see a country like Iran today that does not quietly accept sanctions on their oil export, and I think few countries would.
 

Solidaire

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,455
Athens, Greece
#10
One reason the debate are not that intense may be many of us see little prospect of any solutions. I too see big problems, and do not believe much in an idea the world (us) will by itself "behave well". The best approach, i think, to future solutions is an approach few at the moment find very attractive. It is one were a group of nations (or international organisations - or even industries) with sufficient economic "weight" makes their own "deal", but not one were they "sacrifice themselves to the common good." without consequences for the rest. The "consequences" I have in mind would include some sanctions upon non-participants, and if they are to be effective then there is little prospect those "hit" would be very upset, to put it mild. We see a country like Iran today that does not quietly accept sanctions on their oil export, and I think few countries would.
I agree, with one objection: poor countries cannot simply be forced to sacrifice their only means of development (the cheap, easy, polluting one)
without a counterbalance offered by the richer ones. Sanctions yes, but also adequate incentives and help to switch to more environmental friendly ways.

Things look a bit grim however, especially today with the financial crisis threatening the developed countries. I don't even know if we can afford to change our own ways.
 

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