by Mark Edwards
he “sex self-destruction” by inaction to climate change, nutrient collapse and sperm collapse is currently only a theory with strong indicators, but without sufficient proof of cause and effect. Sex self-destruction by continued overuse of pesticides is not a theory, it is fact. Here are the facts.
EPA’s Annual use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report shows that American farmers apply 1.1 billion pounds of toxic chemicals to the environment and to our food supply each year. Farmers apply over 90 million pounds of Organophosphates, (OP) neurotoxins that silently build up in the bodies of Americans and degrade male sperm and the brains of children.
Plants may absorb less than 0.1% of each applied pesticide. The 99% residual enters the local ecosystem where it degrades the brains, neurons and bodies of birds, amphibians, fish farm animals, farm families and their neighbors. Pesticide residuals also remain on the crops after harvest. The use of OPs continues to expand because so many insects have become resistant to other pesticides and alternatives are not available.
OPs have contributed to a devastating human sex problem. Exposure to OPs in the environment, in and on food and water, have caused men’s sperm counts to drop precipitously. When men do not have enough sperm, they become infertile and women do not get pregnant. Procreation stops. While the collapse in sperm counts may associate with other factors, such as global warming and micronutrient deficiencies, pesticide exposure from the modern industrial agricultural food supply chain appears to be the primary driver.
In addition, many of the couples that do conceive endure miscarriages. Newborns whose mother was exposed to OPs during fetal life may find their newborn has severe birth defects, impaired brain development and function, lowered IQ, and neurological development problems.
The International Agency on Research on Cancer found that organophosphates increase the likelihood of cancer. OPs may cause DNA or chromosomal damage, and may cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or cancer of lymph nodes. Conditions linked to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals include male infertility, female fertility problems, ALS, diabetes, obesity, and CHD.
Organophosphates are used on a massive scale to produce modern industrial foods. They are neurotoxins used in both nerve gases, (which are outlawed), and insecticides. They work by disrupting the nervous system of insects, a mechanism that also affects the human nervous and reproductive systems, when people are exposed.
Another endocrine disrupter, Atrazine, (herbicide), is one of the most widely used pesticides in the world. This poison can be transported by wind or water more than 1,000 km from the point of application to other farms, cities and remote habitats.
Over 80 million pounds of Atrazine are applied in the US annually and it has become the number one pesticide contaminant in water. Like other OPs, it causes complete feminization and chemical castration in male frogs, fish, birds, rodents and human cell lines.
Atrazine not only disrupts sex by preventing the production of sperm, but destroys sex as we know it. The pesticide causes animals to become “intersex.” The chemical causes a “chemical castration,” causing males to develop female sex characteristics. Researchers hypothesize that atrazine signals the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, demasculinizing the animal. A recent USGS study of male bass showed that 85% of male smallmouth bass across Northeast National Wildlife Refuges demonstrate characteristics of the opposite sex – including eggs located where testes should be. In some water bodies, the pesticide-driven sex changes collapsed the entire fish population.
Russ Hauser at Harvard School of Public Health and a team of 18 international researchers found that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals cost the European Union more than €150 billion, ($209 billion), a year in health care expenses and lost earning potential. Pete Myers, founder of Environmental Health Sciences and team, performed a similar analysis in the US and found the annual cost of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the US exceeds $340 billion; 2% of the US GDP. Pesticide exposure in the US causes an estimated 2 million lost IQ points and another 7,500 intellectual disability cases annually.
These pesticides create appalling damage during fetal and infant life and lead to severe, lifelong brain and neurological problems, including ASD. The prevalence of autism in the US has increased 119% since 2000 and one in 45 children in the US are born with autism. Autism costs $268 billion a year and costs are projected to rise to $461 billion in 2025, if autism’s prevalence remains the same as 2015.
The thirstiest part of a food crop is the edible fruit, vegetable, seeds or nuts. In produce treated with OPs, all the juicy, crispy, pulpy or leafy flesh carries the chemical residue. The pesticide is present throughout, and cannot be removed. The EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce provides useful guidance, but also clear warnings for consumers to beware.
A 2017 Gallup survey found Americans are seriously worried about contaminants in their drinking water. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have “a great deal” concern about pollution of tap water, and 57% worry “a great deal” about pollution of the nation’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs. People have good reason to worry. A recent EWG report revealed that, for decades, Shell and Dow hid a highly potent cancer-causing chemical in two widely used pesticides, contaminating drinking water for millions of people. Those actions are currently being litigated.
EWG’s Nationwide Tap Water Transparency Report validated the fears expressed in the Gallup survey. ERG found more than 40,000 water systems had detections of known or likely carcinogens exceeding established federal or state health guidelines. These are levels that pose real health risks, but are not legally enforceable. Many water systems contained chemicals associated with brain and nervous system damage, developmental harm to children or fetuses, hormone disruption and fertility problems. The accumulated knowledge regarding agriculture chemicals poisoning drinking water were to be regulated by the EPA’s Clean Water Rule.
The EPA decision to approve modern OPs was driven by the belief that the pesticide breaks down quickly and loses its toxicity. Apparently, the EPA made a bad decision. A recent study compared expired OP pesticides with fresh products. The expired OP pesticide formulations exhibited higher toxicity than the corresponding unexpired pesticides.
Trump Kills Clean Water Rule
In July 2017, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt caved to pressure by the pesticide lobby and President Trump to allow agribusiness to continue using known endocrine disruptors, despite irrefutable scientific evidence that shows how exposure, even at the smallest levels, can harm children’s brains. Pruitt and President Trump announced that they killed the Clean Water Rule — a safeguard that protects drinking water for an estimated 117 million Americans. The EWG and the American Academy of Pediatrics, called on Pruitt and the EPA to reverse course, and put a full-scale ban of the brain-damaging endocrine disruptors.
President Trump probably does not know that killing the clean water bill will kill thousands of unborn children with miscarriages because he appoints advisors that have no scientific knowledge. His actions will cause severe birth defects to additional thousands, which will add substantial drag to the economy. It is extremely unfortunate that neither the President nor his advisors have the scientific knowledge to read the EWG or the American Academy of Paediatrics call to ban brain-damaging endocrine disruptors.
Pesticide pollution of endocrine-disrupting chemicals from farm run-off and residuals on produce cost in the US more than $340 billion annually; 2% of the US GDP. Pesticide exposure in the US causes an estimated 2 million lost IQ points and another 7,500 intellectual disability cases annually. In addition, pesticides cause male and female infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and cognitive loss in newborns.
A large majority of Americans would ban pesticides that kill or destroy the brains of newborns. Unfortunately, President Trump ignored science in the same manner he unilaterally removed the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. He killed the Clean Water Act and failed to ban brain-damaging endocrine disruptors. History will not judge his foolish anti-science actions kindly.
The next post takes a more positive tack and provides algae-based solutions for not only the sex and fertility challenges, but also the annual loss of 2 million lost IQ points and a reduction in the 7,500 intellectual disability cases.
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