I saw an opinion piece in the York Dispatch by National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez, "The Pill--and the law of unintended consequences." Lopez noted that male fish have been turning up possessing certain female characteristics, such as development of eggs, and this phenomenon can be traced to disturbances of the fish's hormonal effects by estrogen present as a contaminant in the water. But this piece was no article presenting information about the environment; it quickly released the fetid odor of a Right-Wing rant.
This was not a call to protect the environment. Lopez quickly pointed the finger of blame at "Estrogen pollution from contraceptive and abortion pills" which she refers to as "the two holiest of holies for the left..."
Ah, yes, of course. It's all the fault of the Evil Left and their preoccupation with SEX, SEX, SEX. Like the Discombobulatory Institute protesting that Intelligent Design is science, not religion, Lopez cites the peer-reviewed scientific publishing house, Regnery Press (yes, that's sarcasm. Regnery is a WingNut outlet that only pretends to publish science), an anti-liberal, anti-environment screed by Iain Murray.And for more scientific backing, Lopez says:
And because its introduction came 40 years ago, at a time when American culture was enamored with Woodstock, feminism and free love, presient warning and cautions--most notably from Pope Paul VI in his encyclical "Humanae Vitae" in the summer of 1968--went unheeded. Yes, I'm sure the Pope was speaking out of his concern for water quality.
Lopez seems to think we can solve the problem of gender-bending fish by banning birth control (and those "abortion pills" everyone is using). But here's a clear clue that this is an anti-liberal, anti-sex, wingnut rant: Contraceptives are not the only source of these contaminants in our waters. According to Raj Raman of the University of Tennessee, author of one study on animal sources,
Our best estimate is that the amount of estrogen coming out of pigs and cows is over an order of magnitude higher than what the human population puts out. Think about that next time you sit down for a ham sandwich and a glass of milk, Ms Lopez.
Furthermore, the active contaminant is not just estrogen--various hormones, as well as pesticides, surfactants, and heavy metals are also known endocrine disruptors, being capable of mimicking estrogen (for example. Dennis McQuillan and others, presented at the 7th Annual New Mexico Environmental Health Conference, October 28-30, 2002, Albuquerque). Another source is Bisphenol A (BPA), used in the production of certain plastics, which was in the news recently as a potential hazard. BPA has been found in drinking water supplies and in wastewater (Z. Yang, "Analysis of Phenolic Estrogen Mimics in River Water by Negative Ion Electrospray LC/MS/MS").
Reminds me of the specious claim by Creationists that they only want to "teach the controversy" in order to encourage "critical thinking."
Labels: environment, pollution, religion, skepticism, wingnuts