Contraceptives in the rain…

When a new synthetic substance is created, or a naturally occurring substance is generated at greatly increased levels, the effects can be far longer-lasting and wider-reaching than its manufacturers predict or intend. Some well-known examples of this include asbestos, a popular insulation and flame retardant in the late 19th century, which was later discovered to be carcinogenic; and polystyrene foams like Styrofoam, which is frequently used in disposable packaging, yet takes hundreds of years to break down once discarded. In the case of oral contraceptives, the key ingredients are synthetic hormones known as progestins, which mimic progesterone, either alone or combined with estrogen. When used therapeutically in contraceptive pills or in hormone replacement treatments for menopause, these synthetic hormones make their way into the water supply after being excreted in the patients’ urine. As environmental contaminants, these are referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), due to the fact that they interfere with the endocrine systems of humans and animals alike following exposure.

While its impact is still being widely studied, there is no doubt that the exposure is occurring: multiple international studies have documented elevated levels of natural and synthetic hormones in drinking water, and one such study conducted in France noted that progestins in particular were more resistant to removal by water treatment methods, compared with other types of pharmaceuticals [3].

Due to the accumulation of synthetic steroids in water, much of the research conducted on its impact has been done using water-dwelling vertebrates such as fish and frogs. An ever-increasing collection of studies report harmful effects of these hormones on aquatic vertebrates, particularly with regard to their reproduction, as would be predicted given the nature of the contaminants [4]. One study focused on the effects of exposure to the progestin Levonorgestrel (LNG) on the frog Xenopus tropicalis. While the male reproductive system did not appear to be impaired, female tadpoles exhibited severe defects in the development of their ovaries and oviducts, rendering them sterile [5]. [SOURCE]

More reason to stay away from the infernal Pill.

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  • Jeanne Chabot

    I’ve known this for awhile, and you would think environmentalists would jump on this, but no… wonder why?  Hmmm… 

    • Typically, an environmentalist would view infertile woman as a good thing to control the population.   

      • Kristen indallas

        hey now… 🙂
        Not all environmentalists are anti-humanists. Although maybe we should just call ourselves CONSERVationists to eliminate the confusion.

    • nitnot

      Tangentially related … why is it OK for wind farms to slaughter endangered birds such as Golden and Bald Eagles, felony violations for anyone else … ? 

      • MissJean

         Because the damage from windfarms is by accident. It’s an act of Go…vernment. 🙂

  • It is very interesting to see what things that liberals/progressives/leftists will tolerate when their supposed priorities clash.  Would be interesting to develop a ranking.  For example, access to contraceptives trumps a treat to animal life.   While we know for sure that the same people would  shut down an oil well or a logging camp to protect those same fish.

    • Kristen indallas

      Is it really a huge suprise? I’m not sure there even is a priority clash here. “Animal lovers” will already chastise anyone who doesn’t spay/neuter/declaw their dog or cat, why should fish be any different? Who cares if their lives are especially happy or fruitful, as long as we don’t eat them or wear them when their time comes, right?

      Meanwhile “real” animal lovers will totally cry when watching the nature documentary about the momma octopus who works herself literally to death going days without eating or sleeping just so that one or two of her little ones might make it. Of course maybe the fish don’t have the same priorities as octopi… there are SO MANY of them afterall.  😉

  • tj.nelson

    I’ve known this for awhile as well.  I think it is the reason George’s dad, Mr. Costanza, had to get a manzier. 

  • Ironiccatholic

    Looking for the silver lining here, much of the American population can go around with an umbrella and tap-dancing to “I’m sinning in the rain, just sinning in the rain….” 

    • Ironiccatholic

       “what a beautiful feeling I’m damning again!”

      • Sherry

        I’ve fallen from grace, so high up above,
        I’ll sin in my heart and have sex but not love…

  • Tim

    I never did like Captain Jack and didn’t care for the episodes of Doctor Who he was in.  But I think that clip above is from Torchwood which I’ve never seen (because Captain Jack was in it).  

    And I don’t care for estrogen in my water.  Putting estrogen in water is like putting Captain Jack in Doctor Who episodes (it’s not good).

    • ” Putting estrogen in water is like putting Captain Jack in Doctor Who”

      • Tim

        Hey, I said putting Captain Jack in Doctor Who EPISODES.  

        However, I initially wrote it as you have it but I realized how this could be misconstrued and changed it.  

        I imagine Captain Jack would like the way you wrote it though.

    • Calah Alexander

       I actually liked Captain Jack in Doctor Who but couldn’t stand him in Torchwood, but for all of Torchwood’s gross grossness, I thought they brought up really interesting ethical questions. One episode touched on abortion, and the most recent season basically revolved around the ethics of euthanasia. If you can get past the gratuitous sex (which I fast-forwarded, because it was nasty sex nastily filmed) and how unbelievably irritating Captain Jack is, it’s a worthwhile watch. But then again, that’s a lot to get past, since Captain Jack is basically in every scene.

      • Tim

        His flirtations with everyone and everything in Doctor Who were always extremely awkward and out of place, not to mention creepy.

  • Fuquay Steve

    God come to our assistance
    Oh Lord make haste to help us.

  • As frightful as the prospect of infertility is, I doubt that it will be the only unintended consequence of dumping synthetic hormones in the ecosystem.

    • Man boobs. 

      • Cancer?

      • doughboy

        i knew it.

      • Wait, I drink the water and my boobs aren’t any bigger as a result. 

      • tj.nelson

        This is what I meant with my mazier comment – but you mention boobs and everyone sits up and pays attention.

  • Annjean56

    I read somewhere that the environmental pollution caused by synthetic hormones from bc is actually negligible, the real problem is found in industrial waste

  • Miss Doyle

    Funny thing is that John Barrowman is gay. Damn shame actually.

  • Miss Doyle

    On a serious note though, aren’t these substances absorbed by the body? Why are they being excreted if they are designed to be put to use?

    • MissJean

       The key is that the Pill gives more estrogen than the body needs, which forces the body to stop producing estrogen on its own.  This is also why it’s effective when women produce too much testosterone (e.g. Stein Levanthal sufferers) and need something to shut down their endocrine’s production of testosterone. 

  • Noe