The Untouchable Environmental Issue

Residual female sex hormones from birth control pills are damaging aquatic wildlife.  Gender imbalance and sterility are resulting in many species of aquatic animals in streams and rivers downstream of water treatment facilities around the world, as a result of synthetic hormones dumped down drains and peed into the sewage system.

Unsurprisingly, this is not a top priority for environmentalists.  Why?  Because most environmentalists are to a large degree, political liberals.  Hence, they cannot oppose birth control, for that would be an attack on women and their sexual freedom.  It would also deal a telling blow to the population control programs worldwide, a pet project of the left for 100 years now.  To give this publicity would pit nature against consequence-free sex, and that just won’t happen.

But what disturbs me about this even more than the environmental impact (and the reality that this will NEVER be dealt with because of its political ramifications) is what this is doing to us.  I mean, if these effects are happening with fish and frogs, what is happening to us?  What is happening to our daughters on the pill?  Are they really as safe as we have been told they are?

Rebecca Goldburg, a New Jersey biologist working with Environmental Defense, told the North Jersey News: “I’m not sure I want even low levels of birth control pills in my daughter’s drinking water.”

Food for thought.  Oh, Mr. Dion… anything to say about this, or would a response put too much CO2 in the air?


  1. says

    While this is disturbing (less so the second time (my teacher told our class about this last year)) there is another moral side to the problem. Without birthcontrol then there would be many more abortions. This wouldn’t just be unmarried couples, as many married couples aren’t ready to have a baby, or have already had as many as they want or can afford.

  2. Dan says

    In no way would it be necessary to outlaw birth control to help with this program… a simple evaluation and implementation of wastewater treatment methodologies for removing estrogens from the effluent would be all that is needed!

  3. T says

    More important I think is what effect is this having on men drinking water full of female hormones??

  4. says

    Who said anything about banning birth control? Worst case, a step back from hormonal forms that get transmitted into the water supply might be a step – or as you say, stepping up the filters or procedures in the water treatment facilities. However, in either case, there are still plenty of other birth control options.

    Still, I think that there are larger questions that need to be asked. What about all the other pharmaceuticals that are being excreted into the water supply? What are their effects? These are questions that are not even being asked by the FDA… but it is obvious that they should be.

    However, my main point remains, because this has ANYTHING to do with the sacred cow of birth control and a “woman’s right to control her body”, it will not be touched. Which is too bad, because in the meantime, I think this touchstone is destined to be a bludgeon to beat environmentalists with. If they won’t touch it, then it just shows their hypocrisy and beholdenness to the less than noble goals of socialist societal engineering.

  5. Smarter than Ezra says

    “If they won’t touch it, then it just shows their hypocrisy and beholdenness to the less than noble goals of socialist societal engineering.”

    Just because you haven’t come accross anything, doesn’t mean that environmentalists are not touching it. In fact, one of the biggest environmentalists in Canada (yep, good old David) did an entire episode of this on the Nature of Things two years ago.

  6. Grog says

    However, my main point remains, because this has ANYTHING to do with the sacred cow of birth control and a “woman’s right to control her body”, it will not be touched.

    Oh please. Get over it. Like much of Paul Cameron’s junk, that report is so badly twisted it’s not even funny. Estrogen-like compounds have been known and identified as having effects on aquatic life for years. It’s not trivial, but it’s also amazingly simplistic to link it to birth control pills as a sole – or even primary – cause at this time. There are many compounds that can act “like” estrogen to the body’s hormone receptors – not just the compounds in birth control pills.

    That article is nothing more than amazingly poor attempt to link birth control back to environmental issues by an organization whose political goals include suppressing birth control.

    If you reduce the argument in that article to its logical conclusion, we should be filtering women’s urine because it contains estrogen! (which is as daft as the article itself)

    BTW – “T”, it takes a lot more estrogen than would be in that water to have any effect on a human male. Second, before the water ever reaches your tap, the filtration and treatment processes have long ago removed anything even vaguely resembling the compounds in question.

  7. me and roger says

    This could be the next Michael Moore docudrama “Me and My Estrogens”, Suzuki could be the technical guy, verifying and coroberating facts and such…

  8. SGMI says

    We’ve been trained to think that flushing drugs down the toliet/sink is a good thing and that nothing bad will happen. After all, it’s just one pill, right? But because everyone thinks the same way, we’ve got a mess on our hands that no one wants to deal with because feminism trumps the rights of everyone else. Great.

  9. dominique hanks says

    as a woman with a rare disease, estregen can cause extreme increase of bloodcloths so not only
    am I upset that my child and grandchild might ingest this but also children who were born with diseases like me. This can increase damage to our bodies and even death. It shows that those
    so called environmental friendly groups and politicians do not really give a …….

  10. says

    You just don’t get it as usual, StE. These numbers are from 3 years ago. The life cycle of the fish in question is 5-8 years. In the next couple of years we are going to see unprecedented die-offs of fish in rivers all over the USA, Canada, and the world. They will be irreversible die-offs, not from poisoning, but from lack of sex partners to perpetuate the species. What will this do to the ecosystems? What will this do to our water supplies? In my opinion this shouldn’t have to be dug out of a newspaper clipping in Denver from 2004. You shouldn’t have to go back through David Suzuki’s archives for a couple of years to find a lone “Nature of Things” episode. Global Warming is by no means a sure thing, yet it is being blasted across every paper in the country every couple of days. This is happening RIGHT NOW and its effects will be doing MAJOR DAMAGE within a couple of years unless we act RIGHT NOW. Yet we hear nothing, because of the political hot-potato of women’s rights.

    As I said before, this is going to beat on the environmental movement. If they can’t pick this up and run with it because it hurts their left-wing allies, then they don’t deserve to call themselves the champions of anything.

  11. Grog says

    As I said before, this is going to beat on the environmental movement. If they can’t pick this up and run with it because it hurts their left-wing allies, then they don’t deserve to call themselves the champions of anything.

    First off, there’s real science being done in these areas. Second, you are tying two unrelated topics together – environmentalism and health issues (which you are falsely linking to feminism).

    To accuse environmentalists of “not saying anything because …” is right up there with the classic “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” query.

    Have you asked why cities like Victoria BC pump raw sewage straight into the ocean; or why numerous communities have less than adequate water treatment (on either side of the human consumption picture)?

    I could just as easily turn that on “conservatives” by simply asserting that while conservatives are all gung-ho about fighting a war, they don’t give a damn about the environment back home – look – they won’t fund a sewage treatment plant for Victoria.

    Of course, the connection of issues is complete crap, but it’s no different than the idiotic connection you are arguing.

  12. says

    For years we have been inunindated with reports about second hand smoke. Why should not the dangers of second hand estrogen be published so all can know.
    The suggestion to install filters in waste processing systems sounds good on the surface but may not be so easy in practice.
    Also, the approach to second hand smoke has been to cut it off at it’s source. It seems that would be the best and most effective solution to the poluting effects of estrogen in our water.

  13. Nathan says

    I agree with Shane. Also, the fact that so many people are taking more and more drugs and all those drugs end up in the water!!!! What about that? Who is looking into the effects of the drugs for heart disease, cancer, etc.??? What are these doing to us????

  14. Anonymous says

    “You just don’t get it as usual, StE.”

    Maybe if your arguments were clearer I would understand where you are coming from. But as Grog points out, you are mixing issues, and then linking them to something unrelated. My question, then, is for what end? It would be much easier if you were upfront about your motives, however, in the world of spin, arguments are so convoluted as to hide the actual reason behind the message.

    This being said, I do think that we need to take a broader look at our drinking water, the effects of pesticides and other chemicals being dumped/drained into our rivers and lakes. Not only do we need to look at the effects of these chemicals independently, but also in combination (because our rivers and lakes are becoming veritable chemicle coctails) and the possible long term effects of this chemical exposure on wildlife all the way up our food chain.

    Blaming this whole environmental mess on birth control is facile, poor science, and frankly irresponsible. It speaks volumes about your motivations – i.e. blaming the left for this problem because they may not be against birth control like those Catholic News websites you frequent.

    If only the world’s problems were as easy as you lay them out. It would be much easier to fix, wouldn’t it?

  15. Grog says

    Just to further reinforce my point that the article is missing points, and amazingly badly researched, a few minutes with Google this morning turned up a very interesting article on ESPN which points out that more realistic work is going on – such as finding ways to better filter the compounds out of wastewater:

    Britain’s Environment Agency, the rough equivalent of our EPA, is sufficiently concerned about estrogen in sewage effluent that it plans to request approximately $80 million to build two state-of-the-art demonstration sewage treatment plants designed to filter estrogen out of wastewater.

    (which is infinitely more realistic than trying to ban or limit substances that have legitimate uses)

  16. Bert says

    On the Practical side.
    My guess, is that it will be YEARS and YEARS before my local water plant starts taking out female hormones, so

    Is there a simple test, one can do on our drinking water, to see what percentage of female hormones are currently in the water?
    So what level is dangerous? Anyone?

    If I live near Bolder Colo – – Is there a simple method I can use, to get them out?
    Will boiling work?
    What size filter?


  17. Grog says

    Is there a simple test, one can do on our drinking water, to see what percentage of female hormones are currently in the water?
    So what level is dangerous? Anyone?

    The levels involved are extremely low – low enough that it’s unlikely to even affect your body’s normal hormone levels. (and yes, males do have some estrogen naturally, just as females have some testosterone)

    If you are really concerned, talk to your doctor.

    As far as filtration goes, it’s not a “size” of filter, but type also comes into play. The little bit of research I did hinted that they were looking at active charcoal filtering techniques, but just how such a filter needs to be designed to isolate out things like steroids is another thing altogether.

  18. ol doc mo says

    Many good points from all. This is not a conservative or liberal issue, yet both sides are virtually silent (as compared to SARs Bird Flu bad spinach an other such plagues). Many municipal H2O sources show traces of multiple types of pharma agents as there exists no filtering options currently and drugs are poorly metabolized by humans thus much is excreted (not to mention flushed). This includes anti depressants, heart meds, etc. We are all drinking this (even in “bottled water”) daily. The amounts are small but these agents are active at parts per million…No one knows the effects on humans with long term chronic exposure, nor the effects on developing fetus (nor the ovum that will be the 3rd generation if that fetus is female). Could this be a link for higher numbers of effeminate males? Perhaps many ARE “born that way” but due to drugs. (which SHOULD spark more grace and understanding from “Christian” fundies) Ancient scribes warned of this; in the last days humans will be so turned away from God that they will depend on pharmacea. (my paraphrase Rev. 9:20 using original Greek for “wicked” and “witchcraft” or “sorceries” )

  19. jstanley says

    Isn’t the real untouchable environmental issue the absolute need for birth control. This earth can simply not sustain the current human population let alone it’s inevitable exponential expansion. The earth will start healing once we are gone, and perhaps the irony will be our involuntary but self induced sterilization.