ED is an Effect of ED

“ED, erectile dysfunction, is an EFFECT of ED, endocrine disruption.”

That’s a direct quote from one of my all-time heroines, Dr. Theo Colborn, author of Our Stolen Future and one of the scientists who coined the term “endocrine disruption” 20 years ago. She and her fellow scientists created the term to explain the effects of a growing body of evidence and concern that toxic chemicals in our environment were severely disrupting the endocrine processes of amphibians and perhaps (no longer perhaps) humans.

Big deal, right? Until you realize what the endocrine system governs. Starting with the hippocampus, which is the part of our brain that makes us uniquely human, and able to love and be good parents. Then the thyroid, the adrenals, pancreas (hence the connection to diabetes and obesity) and finally, testosterone and all our reproductive organs. Yes, that’s the endocrine system! So anything that DISRUPTS that should be looked on with great fear.  Otherwise, we might face a world without sex. And while some people might look at that as a relief, or a sign of God’s damnation on our sins or something, I for one am highly opposed!

There are more than 800 proven toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals in our environment right now—many of them deriving from petroleum, including benzene, chlorine, and PCBs. And don’t forget that most toxic chemical fertilizers are derived from petroleum, as well.

But Dr. Colburn reserves a special place in her book of offenders for benzene, which she calls “the mother of all endocrine disruptors.” Benzene is a toxic waste by-product from crude oil and natural gas production. So, she states, contrary to those hideously propagandist commercials funded by the natural gas and petroleum and coal industries, natural gas is not a clean fuel. In fact, she believes we only have 20 more years of exposure to these powerful endocrine disruptors before we have put our ability to reproduce as a species at serious risk.  And she urges a shift to alternative energies NOW.

When I was 14, I had never heard of erectile dysfunction. Now my 4-year-old has become familiar with the TV commercials and could probably tell you what it is. And while that might just be a change in our social mores and FCC regulations, simple observation—in addition to piles and piles of scientific studies—shows we are radically altering the hormonal, sexual, reproductive, and just plain physical stamina of our species (species = boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, lover, etc.…). If you want to check out Dr. Colburn’s list of chemicals to watch for, go to TEDX.org (the Endocrine Disruption Exchange) or EndocrineDisruption.org for her new, extensively documented list.

But in the meantime, pay attention, because everything you do matters, and either leads to more or less toxicity. It’s time to wake up! Turn off the TV and stop dreaming that everything is just fine. We’ve got work ahead of us, and the alarm clock is ringing.


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5 Responses to ED is an Effect of ED

  1. judi hendricks April 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Sounds like a sci-fi movie called “The Planet’s Revenge.”
    Poster log-line–Our Mother Earth gets tired of being trashed, and decides to get rid of the species that’s responsible.

  2. Kim Soule April 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    When my 13 yr old son was diagnosed with celiacs disease, I started researching as much as I could, and a common pattern I noticed was the fact that mostly pre-pubecsent teens were being diagnosed. Correlation would be hormones. This article is making think there may be a possibility of endocrine disruption, as part of a cause? The number of Celiacs is tremendously increasing. At first I thought it maybe had something to do with hormone injected foods?

  3. Michelle Shaffer April 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    For years I have attributed my husband’s diabetes and subsequent illnesses to the fact that he grew up in the middle of citrus orchards in SoCal. So many residents of that little community have had cancer, diabetes and a host of other diseases. This is such a sad thing for us and Planet Earth.
    I pledged many years ago to buy local and organic whenever possible. I have never regretted it!

  4. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com April 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    I’d like to add to Michelle’s comment about citrus orchards. I grew up and continue to live under the same general circumstances as her husband (citrusville, southern California) – live on a small grove today – but our community has traditionally been very interested in chemical-free organic living and growing. It shows. I know it’s just a personal anecdote and it isn’t fair to assign that to the population at large – but our neighbors who have lived their whole lives here have all lived into their 80s and 90s with no significant health troubles. We used to joke that it was just dumb luck, that all of these people just happened to live together and happened to have really great health. The more I know about food and lifestyle, the more I look around and think there’s more to it than just luck.

  5. Laura B. April 28, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I’m thinking that the overuse of soy in our food (GMO nonetheless) isn’t helping matters either. I’m not anti-organic soy, but it’s in EVERYTHING, as oil. Even in infant formula. Those phyto-estrogens have to take a toll. Too much of anything can do harm.

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