Posted by: Mathieu | January 5, 2009

Contraceptive pill pollutes

With the risk of getting into a painful debate with you Basti, after all wasn’t it you that once told be about this, I was surprised by the following news on a report in the Vatican newspaper:

The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility, a report in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said Saturday.

The pill “has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature” through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report.

“We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill,” he said, without elaborating further.

And while the first reactions aren’t very scientific (and more focussed on beating the Vatican with any stick available) I still have a hard time believing this. I agree with remarks that the Vatican picks its topics somewhat conveniently and should rather address pollution in genral. However it makes me wonder whether this hormonal polution would influence fertility of other species as well? And aren’t there other products we eat / drink that are returned to us be drinking water from the sink?

After some surfing I found different articles stating:

We consume more and more drugs every year, in the form of caffeine, nicotine, and pharmaceuticals. But these chemicals don’t magically disappear once they’ve entered our bodies – although we metabolize much of them, we excrete whatever our bodies don’t use. Excess drugs in the bloodstream make their way out of the body through urine and fecal matter, and the excreted chemicals flow with the sewage out of our homes. These drugs can then pass through sewage treatment plants into streams and lakes, where they can be taken up by wildlife and drinking water supplies. Recent discoveries of pharmaceutically polluted waters and abnormal fish are raising fears that our abundant use of drugs may be harming the ecosystem in unforeseen ways.

Half of all the male fish in lowland rivers are changing sex as a result of pollution, alarming new official research suggests. The findings raise serious questions as to whether the pollution is getting into drinking water and affecting human fertility.

Although the next line in the article provided a link to an even more intersing article(which saidly doesn’t seem to work):

British men are less fertile than hamsters

I still wonder whether I as well should start drinking bottled water?

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