t r u t h o u t - Robert Ovetz America's Other Trade Deficit
The varroa mite and these seemingly disconnected mounds of toxic consumer goods have a lot in common. They are the inevitable invasive byproducts of our central role in the increasingly global economy. They are the costs of our rapidly widening environmental trade deficit-an indicator for which there is no measure but the failure of timeless ecological processes such as pollination and the biological process of human reproduction.
Polution that effects male stearilaty around the world, wal-mart delivers it to your neck of the woods via a plastic shopping bag that falls by the way side polluting and infesting.
The biggest agricultural threat, the biggest threat to human health and who will inherit the end.
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Mystery of the Missing Salmon By K.C. Johnston NBC News
Tuesday 03 May 2005
Dramatic drop in annual run in Northwest.
Springtime on the Columbia River usually means hordes of Chinook salmon swimming up the river, nourishing on their way centuries-old Indian traditions and a voracious commercial fishery.
This year, however, thousands of salmon seem to have gone missing - and no one knows why.
"We've got a big mystery on our hands, a run of salmon that seems to have disappeared," said Stuart Ellis, a harvest management biologist with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Scientists had initially expected this year's salmon run to number about 225,000 fish swimming past the Bonneville Dam where they're counted. But, as of last Thursday, scientists had only counted about 26,000 since the beginning of the year.
A group of fish managers and tribal representatives met Monday to revise their estimate, knocking the number of fish they expect to pass from the original estimate of 225,000 to an unofficial guess of between 70,000 and 100,000.
For the first time the Indian tribes - who have for centuries relied on the salmon for their cultural and economic well-being - have been forced to get the fish used in their springtime ceremonies from other sources, some donated from sympathetic fishermen downstream and others from freezers storing last year's catch.
Charles Hudson, the manager of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, said that the effects of the dearth of Chinook this year run deep, deeper than just having to rely on frozen fish for the annual ceremonies.
The tribes also depends on the fish for much of their daily food, and were initially given a seasonal allotment of 25,000 fish to feed about 20,000 people this year. So far, tribal fishermen have caught under 5,000 fish, according to the commission's statistics.
The tribes are also dependent on salmon for much of their economic sustenance, but it looks as though that will also be jeopardized this year.
"It looks very likely that there will be no - zero - commercial fishery this year," said Hudson.
A bazaar problem from pollutants, or is it destiny? Start here
. Itâ€™s about the origins of â€˜sexâ€™ and ideas of how mostly asexual organisms adapted, and changed. Then check these out this one is about the early onset of puberty
. Then these little fish are up to something Gender bender fish problems
. testicle problem Sperm count dips
(talk about solutions to the Social Security debate)more gender benders sea life changing sex Polar bears in Norway More
More research on mites, an all female species,http://www.nature.com/nsu/010705/010705-1.html
In Science News,
J. Raloff writes that boysâ€™ birth rates are falling and scientists arenâ€™t sure why.
During fetal development, â€œthe male sex is clearly the more fragile one,â€� says Bruce B. Allan, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Alberta, Canada. While some 125 males are conceived for every 100 females, only about 106 boys are actually born for every 100 girls. Stillbirths and miscarriages disproportionately affect boys.
Devra Lee Davis of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, D.C., and her colleagues have analyzed recent surveys by Allan and others who have looked at trends in sex ratios in several countries. They find a broad pattern of decling male births and increasing reproductive defects. â€œThere are compelling biological reasons [for this],â€� say Davis. She suspects this can be traced to the disruption of normal male fetal development by environmental agents. Last year, Allanâ€™â€™s team studied sex ratios in Canada from 1930 to 1990. The proportion of males rose for 2 decades -- a trend that they think was caused by the nationâ€™â€™s improving health care. The ratio then held steady until 1970, when â€œwe saw a drop in every region,â€�â€� Allan says. The most significant drop, which was twice the drop in the rest of Canada, occurred in the Atlantic provinces. The sex ratio at birth â€œâ€œis a parameter that really shouldnâ€™t changeâ€� in a healthy, well-cared-for population, Allan says. His team decided to analyze U.S. births over the same period. â€œâ€œAnd though more subtle, the male sex ratio was dropping there, too,â€�â€� he found, by about 1 boy per 1,000 births. Over the past 2 years, Dutch and Danish researchers have reported similar drops in the male birthrate in their countries. Just last month, APMIS, a journal published in Denmark, reported declining male births in Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Finland. Evidence of a decline over such a broad geographic area, according to Michelle B. Gottlieb, of the WRI, â€œsuggests that avoidable, environmental, factors may be playing a role.â€�
Though certain diseases, older parents, and fertility- stimulating drugs have all been linked to an increasing proportion of female births, Gottliebâ€™â€™s team found that these factors could explain only a small part of the trend. Several recent studies point to hormone-like pollutants. A 1996 study reported the sex of children born to couples who had been exposed to large amounts of dioxin during a July 1976 industrial accident near Seveso, Italy. In the first 8 years after the accident, 12 daughters -- and no sons -- were born to the nine couples who had more than 100 parts per trillion (ppt) of dioxin in blood samples taken at the time of the accident. Among the four couples whose dioxin concentrations were below 100 ppt, the male-female ratio approached normal, says Larry L. Needham, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who helped analyze the blood samples. Heâ€™â€™s now examining another 1,000 samples from other Seveso victims. Allanâ€™â€™s study â€œfocuses attention on a trend that people might not have noticed by viewing individual studies,â€� says Shanna Swan, of the the California Department of Health Services in Berkeley. â€œThe consistency of the data is quite compelling -- and lends biological plausibility that [this trend] might be due to environmental chemicals." Boston University epidemiologist Richard Clapp believes that by looking for â€œhot spotsâ€� where sex ratios are especially skewed, â€œwe might now get closer to finding the causative agents.â€�
For more information,http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc98/4_4_98/fob1.htmhttp://www.sciencenews.org/sn_edpik/ls_8.htmhttp://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-03/acs-mca031102.php
March 18, 2002 12:25 AM
Pollutants mature sperm prematurely
Sperm that mature too soon can't punch through the egg's jelly coat.
3 July 2002
Hormone-like chemicals in food and pesticides may stop adult sperm fertilizing eggs, suggests a new study. Some think that the findings may partly explain falling fertility rates.
Scientists have long speculated that chemicals similar to female hormone oestrogen in food and pesticides could cut sperm counts. Most of the debate has centred on whether such compounds stunt the growing testicles in babies.
Now comes some of the first evidence that environmental oestrogens can stop sperm from adult men fertilizing eggs. Researchers at Kings College London have found that mouse sperm bathed in low levels of the chemicals mature too fast.
In the female reproductive tract, sperm that mature too early are useless. "If [sperm] peak too quickly and haven't bumped into an egg they won't be able to fertilise," explains lead researcher Lynn Fraser.
But it is unclear whether chemicals eaten or absorbed by the body are transferred to the testes. "In order to be concerned we need to know whether environmental oestrogens get into sperm," points out male reproductive clinician Harry Fisch of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
Fraser's team exposed mouse sperm in test tubes to oestrogens from female mice and from soya, legumes, hops, beer and industrial products such as synthetic paints, herbicides and pesticides. The levels were roughly comparable to those that a person might have in their blood.
After 30 minutes, the majority of sperm treated with environmental oestrogens had undergone fast-track development. Many prematurely released the enzymes that enable them to punch through the egg's jelly coat - normally this happens only on contact with an egg.
After an hour, three-quarters of the hormone-exposed sperm were mature enough to fertilize eggs - compared to just a third of untreated sperm. The environmental oestrogens were more potent than natural oestrogen.
Fraser suspects that different environmental oestrogens could combine into an even more potent cocktail. "My suspicion is that low levels of three or four will have an additive effect on sperm function," she says. She presented the results at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna this week.
Ten years ago, a group of reproductive biologists suggested that sperm counts had plummeted by as much as 50 per cent worldwide - and that environmental oestrogens might be to blame. Fears have also been raised by studies finding reproductive problems in animals exposed to pollutants.
Today, researchers are still arguing about whether sperm counts are falling globally or regionally, as studies have produced conflicting results.
A baby born with two good testicles is well off for fertility in later life
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Fertility rates - the number of children born for every 100 women - have declined dramatically over the past few decades in industrialized countries. But other changes, such as unhealthy lifestyles and women having children later in life, may explain this.
Testing whether environmental chemicals affect either sperm counts or fertility is very difficult. Niels Skakkebaek, who studies reproductive health at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark maintains that these oestrogens are a potential problem: "It's definitely of concern that we are exposing ourselves to these agents."
But encounters with damaging compounds during fetal development, which could stunt sperm production for life, may have a greater effect on fertility than exposure during adulthood, when the testes are relatively resilient to damage. "A baby born with two good testicles is well off for fertility in later life," says Skakkebaek.http://www.nature.com/nsu/020701/020701-4.html
The New World Order will solve all these problems during the "Great DieOff" when a new improved AIDS type virus is introduced that will help sterilize the planet.
The â€˜Great Die Offâ€™ is happening now, or beginning now. Its not AIDS, its not a virus it is our enviroment, effecting the genetics of life.
Are industrial pollutants blurring the genetic boundaries between male and female?
Forget about doomsday asteroids and the Ebola virus. The real threat to life on earth may be the Florida alligator's vanishing penis. That's only one example of a curious blurring of the sexes that researchers have been finding among wild animals around the world. In terms of reproductive health, the males of certain species aren't measuring up. Though a definite cause has yet to be found, several studies point to "gender-bender" pollutants that may be disrupting animal hormones -- including ours.
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body's endocrine system. As Catherine Dold writes in Discover (Sept. 1996), hormones travel from the various endocrine glands to "tell cells what to do and when to do it." Their role in fetal development is profound. Hormones "tell the fetal cell what it will be when it grows up," a process that determines, among many other things, an individual's sex.
The problem, writes Dold, is that "chemical impostors" may be upsetting fetal growth at the crucial moment of sexual differentiation. "Many researchers now believe that a small army of common chemicals can somehow imitate natural hormones," she adds, and "derail an animal's development, permanently distorting its reproductive, immune, and neurological systems." The theory would explain why male alligators in Florida's Lake Apopka, the site of a pesticide spill in 1980, developed stunted reproductive organs. And why male fish near sewage plants emptying into Britain's rivers produce a protein normally found in females' eggs. Similar cases have appeared among eagles, whales, otters, and other animals. Writes Dold: "One serious abnormality after another has been reported in wildlife that have been exposed to a highly contaminated environment."
The list of possible "endocrine disrupters" now tops 50, including the usual suspects: pesticides like DDT, atrazine, and chlordane as well as dioxin, PCBs, and heavy metals. Even more disturbing, several seemingly less odious chemicals -- such as certain substances in plastics, paints, cosmetics, adhesives, and inks -- may have a similar effect.
In the case of male sexual development, there are at least two possible causes of "demasculinization." Chemicals may be blocking the androgens, or male hormones like testosterone, by binding to fetal cells in their rightful place. They can also mimic estrogen, the female hormone, thus triggering estrogenic effects. The amounts needed are small; in fact, in terms of damage, less is often more. Odder yet, these substances don't resemble estrogen in a molecular sense, which only complicates the puzzle.
As Diana Lutz reports in The Sciences (Jan./Feb. 1996), some scientists link endocrine disrupters with declining reproductive health among human males. The rates of testicular cancer and genital deformities have risen, while male fertility has fallen, according to some studies. One in six couples now has trouble conceiving. Researchers once assumed these problems originated with women, but now suspect that men may be the cause as often as half the time. Though there's no ironclad proof that gender-bending chemicals are to blame, "the general feeling is that the evidence gained so far is too plausible to ignore."
No one doubts that endocrine disruption can be chemically induced in humans. Between 1945 and 1971, 5 million women took diethylstilbestrol, or DES, a synthetic estrogen thought to prevent miscarriages. Its role as an agent of abnormal fetal development -- in males as well as females -- is now well documented.
Even so, some think the danger posed by synthetic endocrine disrupters may be overstated. They note, for instance, that many fruits contain natural substances that mimic estrogen. But proponents of the theory argue that animals exposed to such substances for millions of years have developed ways to neutralize them. That can't be said of a molecule whipped up in a lab only a few decades ago. Synthetic chemicals may also biodegrade more slowly and thus accumulate in the body.
If the risk of endocrine disrupters proves to be real, more than sexual development may be affected. Theo Colborn, a senior scientist with the World Wildlife Fund and co-author of Our Stolen Future (Dutton, 1996), thinks such chemicals may be causing other impairments, including subtle forms of nerve and brain damage in children.
Colborn's theory bucks the current tendency to seek the cause of many disorders in the genes. Profound changes in an organism can occur without genetic involvement, she notes, which in a way is good news: A "cure" lies simply in changing the beliefs and habits that lead to the overuse of industrial chemicals, beginning with the models now used to determine "safe" levels of chemical exposure. The real issue may not be how much of a toxic substance causes cancer or knocks you dead, but how little can alter a being's destiny at the very earliest stages of life.
-- Jeremiah Creedon
November 16, 2002 9:09 AM
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH PRESS RELEASE
Immediate Release: Thursday 13 December
UNWANTED CHRISTMAS PRESENCE
Supermarket Food Laced with Hormone Disrupters
Government data, released today, reveals that grapes, kiwi fruit,
lemons, and milk from major supermarkets contained residues of
pesticides which are known to affect the hormone system. Friends of the
Earth (FOE) is calling on retailers to prohibit the use of these
pesticides on food grown in the UK and abroad. But despite claims by
the supermarkets that they are acting to reduce pesticide use, our food
is still laced with toxic chemicals.
The tests, carried out between April and June 2001, showed residues of
. 61% of grapes
. 63% of kiwi fruit
. all lemons
. 8% of milk
. 25% of canned salmon
. 29% of breakfast cereals
. 64% of cereal bars
. 19% of noodles
None of the goats milk, honey or organic produce samples tested
contained pesticide residues.
The milk tested was found to contain lindane, a pesticide which is to be
banned across the EU in 2002 because of health concerns. Lindane is
known to affect the hormone system and has been linked with increased
rates of breast cancer. Nearly half the samples of kiwi fruit contained
vinclozolin - the most common pesticide found in the report - which has
anti-androgenic (anti-maleness) effects. In studies, reduced sperm
counts have been associated with exposure to this chemical. One of the
most commonly found pesticides in grapes was iprodione and the majority
(81%) of lemons contained dicofol. Both these pesticides have been
listed by the European Commission as having strong evidence of hormone
disrupting effects. Residues of the banned pesticide DDT were also found
in a quarter of the tinned salmon samples. This was probably due to
environmental contamination as DDT takes a long time to break down.
Unborn babies and children are more vulnerable to hormone disrupting
chemicals, and the Royal Society has stressed that exposure to these
chemicals should be reduced, especially for pregnant women. FOE believes
it is unacceptable for supermarkets to sell food containing pesticides
which are potentially harmful to health.
FOE is also concerned about the effect of mixtures of these pesticides.
Little is currently known, but growing evidence suggests that the impact
on health is increased if we are exposed to a cocktail of similar
Sainsburys says that "pesticides are only used as a last resort" in
letters to customers, yet one of the lemon samples from Sainsburys
contained 9 different pesticides. All the lemons from Asda contained
multiple residues of pesticides. Tesco has also made claims to
customers about reducing pesticide use, but 3 out of the 5 samples of
grapes tested from Tesco contained pesticides. Earlier this year both
the Co-op and Marks and Spencer announced that they were banning some of
the most dangerous pesticides and restricting the use of others.
Vinclozolin was amongst the pesticides to be banned by M&S. There are
very few samples from these stores in the Government's report but both
retailers publish the results of their own testing on their websites.
Sandra Bell, Pesticide Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said
"Shopping is stressful enough without having to contend with a toxic
lottery on the supermarket shelves. Anyone looking forward to fresh
grapes with their cheese and biscuits this Christmas , canned salmon, or
sliced lemon in their gin and tonics will be dismayed to find that they
come laced with hormone disrupting chemicals. Consumers should expect
to find safe food on the supermarket shelves. M&S, Co-op and Waitrose
are taking steps in the right direction. It's time all retailers took
action to get these gender-bending chemicals out of our food"