Archive for the ‘Environment’ category

Don’t Drink the Water?

July 8th, 2009

Ever wonder about this whole water, nutrition, thrown-away-or-passed-through-pill thing?  I was talking to a friend who was explaining her box filled with powered, bio accessible supplements to me.   You know, the kind you drink in a milk shake in the morning.  She explained that her house had a septic system and that the annual visit by the septic maintenance truck was usually an occasion to discuss topics that the rest of us don’t get into on any given day.  Interestingly, she asked the septic  guy if things have changed “down there” over the years. (I know, I know. Too much information.)

His answer was terse.  He said, “Yep, all we see now when we start our work is pills, undigested pills.”  I’ve written blog posts about the lack of filtration capability built (or not built) into our water purification systems, and suggested that you move to Chicago if you have high cholesterol because there are so many lipids in the water.

Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times has always been one of my literary heroes.  His coverage of Darfur, his reports on the Iraq war, Afghanistan, China, and gender rights issues have all captured my attention and admiration.  His column last Sunday in The New York Times, It’s Time to Learn from Frogs, was deeply disturbing and raised issues that should capture not only our imaginations but also should tickle our most profound concerns.

three legged frog
Photo credit: Discovery Channel/TreeHugger.com

For those of you who did not read it, the basic thesis was one of caution as we see our amphibian friends sprouting extra legs and some developing stunted genitals, while some of their fish companions are devolving into intersex fish that display female characteristics and produce eggs.  The reason for these changes is being attributed to a class of chemicals that scientists refer to as endocrine disruptors.  Some are passed into the environment through the urine of human females on estrogen treatments.  Although these theories for the disruptive changes in nature are still only theories, we have also begun to see a serious percentage of male babies  (7%) being born with undescended testicles and 1 percent being born with the urethra exiting the penis improperly.  Obesity may also be impacted by chemicals that contributors.

As the founder and former CEO of a research institute, our scientists constantly reminded me that 75% of our cancers were produced from the environment.  As we saw completely substantiated reasons in our economy to add man-made chemicals to retard spoilage, discourage bug infestations, and produce larger chicken breasts, or more attractive fruits and vegetables, the cascade of potential consequences caused by these decisions were never really known to us.

Mr. Kristof ends his op-ed by stating that “Those deformed frogs and intersex fish – not to mention the growing number of deformities in newborn boys-should jolt us once again.”

Could someone pass the “Fresh Mountain Spring Water?”  Oh, yeah, the one that’s full of heavy metals from the acid rains.  You know, that Grey Goose is looking better every day.

For further reading:

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?