Subject: more on gender benders: are gender bending chemicals neutering the ecology? If Your Suntan Lotion Can Change The Sex Of Fish, What Can It Do To You?


By Fiona Macrae
Daily Mail
July 19, 2006

A third of male fish in English rivers are changing sex due to 'gender-bending' pollution,
alarming research shows.

Experts say female hormones from the contraceptive pill and HRT are being washed into our rivers
and causing male fish to produce eggs.

The problem -- which is country-wide -- has raised fears that the pollutants could also be
contaminating our drinking water -- and even be affecting the fertility of men.

The Environment Agency study looked at the health of more than 1600 roach found in 51 rivers and
streams around the country.

Overall, a third of the male fish were between sexes. However, in one waterway, near a
particularly heavy discharge of treated sewage more than 80 per cent had female characteristics.

Tests showed the males developed female sex organs and were producing eggs. Such fish also produce
less sperm and the sperm that is produced is of low quality. Females may also be affected,
producing abnormal eggs.

Previous studies have that cod, trout and flounders are all being feminised.

Researcher Professor Charles Tyler said that the fish are swimming in a soup of oestrogen-like
compounds, found in the Pill and in HRT.

The hormone, which is also produced naturally by women and found in industrial waste, is released
into our waterways after surviving the sewage treatment process.

Prof Tyler, one of the country's leading authorities on the effects of oestrogen, said: 'There is
a soup of oestrogen compounds, all with different degrees of potency and they are interactive in
their effects -- if you add them together, you add there are additional effects.

'This soup of oestrogen is responsible for causing these changes to the fish. It is abnormal.
These fish should be male or female. The fact that we have got such a large proportion right
across the country is not right.'

The Exeter University professor said it is too early to say what the long-term implications will
be for Britain's fishlife.

While it may not initially have a big impact on stock levels, a reduction in the number of
breeding males could lead to all sorts of genetic problems in later years.

'Effects like a change in how many males can contribute to the population can change the genetic
structure of the population,' he said. 'In five years' item, the whole system could go belly-up.'

Human health could also be at risk, with oestrogen from contaminated food and water building up in
our bodies.

Although there is no conclusive proof, it is thought the hormone, which has similar actions in
fish and humans, could be partly to blame for falling sperm counts in men.

British men's sperm counts dropped by almost a third between 1989 and 2002, and one in six couples
now have difficulty conceiving.

Prof Tyler said: 'There is certainly the potential for it to have an effect in humans -- and
possibly a marked effect.'

The Environment Agency is looking at ways of improving the sewage treatment process, to either
remove oestrogen during the process or reduce the amount that is discharged into our waterways.

Informant: NHNE


Are Chemicals Neutering Us? by Steve Davis

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January 23, 2006

herm If Your Suntan Lotion Can  Change The Sex Of Fish,  What Can It Do To You?
The Stuff Is Not Only On Your Skin -
It's In Your Tap Water And Lunches, Too

While I pretty much agree with your analysis of this film,
and the overall agenda of elites etc. it now has a deeper
recent scientific paradigm that presents hard evidence to deal with.

Specifically, the research about the feminization of male fetuses,
by the incredible powerful pseudo/phyto estrogenic chemicals we are
bombarded with. While these chemicals may cause all sorts of
weakening of adult systems, it is readily apparent in fetal development
and virtually explains all types of male homosexuality and sexual defects.

So it now appears that these chemicals, especially bis Phenol A
and Phalates in plastics and paper...hence the question,
"Plastic or Paper? ;-) are two of the main culprits of these
homosexual/sexual "birth defects" which have been shown to include
both physically manefested defects such as hypospadia, the number
one birth defect in males, undescended testicles and stunted penis etc,
and such brain defects as sissy gays, flame gays, transvestites, shemales,
gender disphorias and full blown transsexualism.

Hypospadia is so common it may be over 25% of males, but it is usually just
stitched up and never mentioned again. It may be far more epidemic in
Japan, and far more hidden, but it is revealed in their widely popular Hentai porn
cartoons, and many closet favorites there are of such Hypospadia Shemales ! Quite shocking indeed, and essentially the only pictures ofthis condition available anywhere, amazing considering the complete coverage of all sexuality and bizarreness online. No pics of a hypospadia.

I think that this amazing coverup is not accidental, and far beyond just
some simple personal psych explanation, and is clearly far far more insidious and on purpose.

Discussion and bringing this out would expose the whole array, continuum and
diversity of the corporate chemical induced fetal gay syndrome.

In many species all around us and worldwide, we see all sorts of gay and
tranny fish, amphibians, birds, gay florida panthers, smal penis gators, and on and on, leading to a complete collapse in some small and/special ecosystems and nitches.

There are almost no male salmon in the Columbia River, they are all
transsexual, and other shocking manifestations often downstream from sewage outfalls, where clearly, the inability of these systems to remove estrogens and
pseudo/phyto estrogens has poisoned all fetal development.

Now this has been demonstrated and reproduceable experiments are published,
One experiment in Canada was shocking. A small pristine lake was chosen,
fully tested for estrogen activity and then contaminated with just parts per
TRILLION of estrogen.

The result, nothing apparent at first in existing wildlife of all phylums,
then all gay male offspring, then a rapid complete and total collapse of all animal populations then extinction ! and so what is the next step?

Well, look at all the special interests here, gays sure dont want to be
labeled as "birth defects", hypospadia is never mentioned, ever, and gays are
fighting hard for some respect and rights, although the agenda is as messed up as it could be by media mind control and just plain reckless behavior and bizarreness by gays.

Then there is the govt who sure doesnt want to accept this proven science,
nor have to cut a Social Security Check to birth defected gays !
Plus all sorts of other political and election propagandas and hypocracies.
The govt complicities are enormous, all encompassing and clearly

Then of couse, the source, yes lets explore a little tip of that cold hard

Bis Phenol A numero uno mfg. is DOW's Freeport Texas plant which produces
a sprem numbing 400,000 TONS/year which is used in products that have
exceptionally close contact with humans, especially pregnant women.

Numero Dos is of course China, 200,000 tons,
and their anti life anti reproduction agenda is well known,
except for this unrecognized mega conspiracy.

Sorry, Duct Tape and Plastic Sheeting will only exacerbate this

Oh yea, what about Lesbians? Well research is pointing to another set of
chemicals in utero for that, mostly amphetamines and thyroid chemicals are implicated so far. And it affects and crosses all lines, as we see from Cheney's daughter and many elite "Ellen" children.

So Henry, we need to expand the dialogue and get serious about this
incredible threat to mankind and nature, and move away from old psychobabble and religious rants about gays, as most of that is a major diversion from the real chemical criminals of the New World Disorder.

God Bless
Steve Davis

Refs. Simply Google any of the keywords above to learn more.

More on Gender Bending Chemicals from The Independent




From: RE: New Scientist: Gender-Bending chemicals found in plastics


This has been known for sometime.... but even worse is the use of the pill and the female hormones... these have to go somewhere when they leave the body and end up in our water system (especially in countries with sophisticated waste water & sewage recycling systems).... already it has been seen to affect aquatic life where fish change sex due to the high levels of female hormones.



Infant males affected by 'gender-bending' chemicals
http://www.assatashakur.o rg/forum/showthread.php?t=13559


'Gender-bending' chemicals found to 'feminise' boys
17:17 27 May 2005 news service
Andy Coghlan

“Gender-bending” chemicals mimicking the female hormone oestrogen can disrupt the development of baby boys, suggests the first evidence linking certain chemicals in everyday plastics to effects in humans.

The chemicals implicated are phthalates, which make plastics more pliable in many cosmetics, toys, baby-feeding bottles and paints and can leak into water and food.

All previous studies suggesting these chemicals blunt the influence of the male hormone testosterone on healthy development of males have been in animals. “This research highlights the need for tougher controls of gender-bending chemicals,” says Gwynne Lyons, toxics adviser to the WWF, UK. Otherwise, “wildlife and baby boys will be the losers”.

The incriminating findings came from a study of 85 baby boys born to women exposed to everyday levels of phthalates during pregnancy. It was carried out by Shanna Swan at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, US, and colleagues.

As an index of feminisation, she measured the “anogenital distance” (AGD) between the anus and to the base of the penis. She also measured the volume of each boy’s penis. Earlier studies have shown that the AGD is twice in boys what it is in girls, mainly because in boys the hormone testosterone extends the length of the perineum separating the anus from the testicles. Undescended testicles

In animals, AGD is reduced by phthalates - which mimic oestrogen - which keep testosterone from doing its normal job. At higher doses, animals develop more serious abnormalities such as undescended testicles and misplaced openings to the urethra on the penis - a group of symptoms called “phthalate syndrome” in animals.

When Swan’s team measured concentrations of nine phthalate metabolites in the urine of pregnant women, they found that four were linked with shorter AGD in sons born to women showing high exposure levels.

Although none of the boys developed abnormal genitals, the quarter of mothers who were exposed to the highest concentrations of phthalates were much more likely to have had boys wit h short AGDs compared with the quarter of mothers who had the lowest exposures to the chemicals.

And although all the boys had genitals classified as “normal”, 21% of the boys with short AGDs had incomplete testicular descent, compared with 8% of other boys. And on average, the smaller the AGD, the smaller the penis. Changing masculinisation

Swan believes that at higher exposures, boys may suffer from testicular dysgenesis syndrome - the human collection of more serious abnormalities which corresponds to “phthalate syndrome”.

“We’re not exactly seeing testicular dysgenesis syndrome, but a cluster of endpoints consistent with it,” said Swan on at an international conference on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in San Diego, US.

“If you see this, you’re very likely to see every other aspect of masculinisation changed too,” says Fred vom Saal, professor of reproductive biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, US.

Vom Saal says this could include behavioural changes like those seen in animals, including an aversion to “rough-and-tumble” play and a reduction in aggressiveness. Criticising methods

Environmentalists say the results strengthen the case for a ban or restriction on some phthalates in baby toys, as has been proposed in Europe and California.

But phthalate manufacturers maintain that the chemicals have been thoroughly tested and are safe. They are also critical of aspects of the study. David Cadogan, director of the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates, points out that just one urine sample was taken from each pregnant woman, which cannot rule out drastic variations in exposure over time.

Also, he says that all AGD measurements should have been taken in babies exactly the same age, not in babies ranging from three to 24 months in age as in t he study. The disparity in ages meant that complicated mathematical analyses had to be applied which may have made it more difficult to distinguish genuine differences in AGD from differences accounted for by age or weight.

Swan’s results will appear in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.


New alert over gender bending chemicals
By Mark Prigg Science Correspondent, Evening Standard

A new health alert over chemicals used in make-up, shampoo and soaps is issued today.

Experts say products containing the chemicals - called phthalates - could cause women to give birth to boys with female characteristics.
Their research found shrunken genitals and less masculine behaviour in babies.

Phthalates help to give cosmetics colour and bond perfume molecules. They are also used in pliable plastics such as clingfilm, kidney dialysis tubes, blood bags and even children's toys.

"This is a very big problem," said study leader Professor Shanna Swan, of the University of Rochester. The research, to be published-next month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found 90 per cent of babies exposed to high levels of the chemicals in the womb exhibited "more female physical traits".

Professor Swan said: "We need to eradicate these chemicals. But it is rather like taking lead out of petrol - a slow process."

The study of 134 boys found a range of problems including shrunken genitalia and undescended testicles. They believe the effects could be permanent, although this needs to be confirmed over time.

Professor Swan urged manufacturers to reveal which of their products contain phthalates - previously supposed not to be harmful - as a matter of urgency.

"I would urge people to write and ask for that information," she said. "The problem for consumers is at the moment we just don't know where this chemical will show up."

Andreas Kortenkamp, an expert in environmental pollutants at the London School of Pharmacy, said: "If it's true, it's sensational. This is the first time anyone's shown this effect in humans."

He added: "These are mass chemicals. They are used in any plastic that is pliable. Sorting this out is going to be an interesting challenge for industry as well as society."

A spokesman for the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates said reproductive effects had been seen in rats and mice only at levels of exposure "many times higher than those experienced by humans".

Note: Check out more Health related information at Afrikan Holistic Health on Assata Shakur Forum:
http://www.assatashakur.or g/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=22


WHO describes Arsenic in drinking water

Arsenic may be found in water which has flowed through arsenic-rich rocks. Severe health effects have been observed in populations drinking arsenic-rich water over long periods in countries world-wide.


  • Arsenic is widely distributed throughout the earth's crust.
  • Arsenic is introduced into water through the dissolution of minerals and ores, and concentrations in groundwater in some areas are elevated as a result of erosion from local rocks.
  • Industrial effluents also contribute arsenic to water in some areas.
  • Arsenic is also used commercially e.g. in alloying agents and wood preservatives.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels is a source of arsenic in the environment through disperse atmospheric deposition.
  • Inorganic arsenic can occur in the environment in several forms but in natural waters, and thus in drinking-water, it is mostly found as trivalent arsenite (As(III)) or pentavalent arsenate (As (V)). Organic arsenic species, abundant in seafood, are very much less harmful to health, and are readily eliminated by the body.
  • Drinking-water poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic. Exposure at work and mining and industrial emissions may also be significant locally.


  • Chronic arsenic poisoning, as occurs after long-term exposure through drinking- water is very different to acute poisoning. Immediate symptoms on an acute poisoning typically include vomiting, oesophageal and abdominal pain, and bloody "rice water" diarrhoea. Chelation therapy may be effective in acute poisoning but should not be used against long-term poisoning.
  • The symptoms and signs that arsenic causes, appear to differ between individuals, population groups and geographic areas. Thus, there is no universal definition of the disease caused by arsenic. This complicates the assessment of the burden on health of arsenic. Similarly, there is no method to identify those cases of internal cancer that were caused by arsenic from cancers induced by other factors.
  • Long-term exposure to arsenic via drinking-water causes cancer of the skin, lungs, urinary bladder, and kidney, as well as other skin changes such as pigmentation changes and thickening (hyperkeratosis).
  • Increased risks of lung and bladder cancer and of arsenic-associated skin lesions have been observed at drinking-water arsenic concentrations of less than 0.05 mg/L.
  • Absorption of arsenic through the skin is minimal and thus hand-washing, bathing, laundry, etc. with water containing arsenic do not pose human health risk.
  • Following long-term exposure, the first changes are usually observed in the skin: pigmentation changes, and then hyperkeratosis. Cancer is a late phenomenon, and usually takes more than 10 years to develop.
  • The relationship between arsenic exposure and other health effects is not clear-cut. For example, some studies have reported hypertensive and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and reproductive effects.
  • Exposure to arsenic via drinking-water has been shown to cause a severe disease of blood vessels leading to gangrene in China (Province of Taiwan), known as 'black foot disease'. This disease has not been observed in other parts of the world, and it is possible that malnutrition contributes to its development. However, studies in several countries have demonstrated that arsenic causes other, less severe forms of peripheral vascular disease.
  • According to some estimates, arsenic in drinking-water will cause 200,000 -- 270,000 deaths from cancer in Bangladesh alone (NRC, 1998; Smith, et al, 2000).


  • Accurate measurement of arsenic in drinking-water at levels relevant to health requires laboratory analysis, using sophisticated and expensive techniques and facilities as well as trained staff not easily available or affordable in many parts of the world.
  • Analytical quality control and external validation remain problematic.
  • Field test kits can detect high levels of arsenic but are typically unreliable at lower concentrations of concern for human health. Reliability of field methods is yet to be fully evaluated.

Prevention and control

The most important remedial action is prevention of further exposure by providing safe drinking- water. The cost and difficulty of reducing arsenic in drinking-water increases as the targeted concentration lowers. It varies with the arsenic concentration in the source water, the chemical matrix of the water including interfering solutes, availability of alternative sources of low arsenic water, mitigation technologies, amount of water to be treated, etc.

Control of arsenic is more complex where drinking-water is obtained from many individual sources (such as hand-pumps and wells) as is common in rural areas. Low arsenic water is only needed for drinking and cooking. Arsenic-rich water can be used safely for laundry and bathing. Discrimination between high-arsenic and low-arsenic sources by painting the hand-pumps (e.g. red and green) can be an effective and low cost means to rapidly reduce exposure to arsenic when accompanied by effective health education.

Alternative low-arsenic sources such as rain water and treated surface water may be available and appropriate in some circumstances. Where low arsenic water is not available, it is necessary to remove arsenic from drinking-water:

  • The technology for arsenic removal for piped water supply is moderately costly and requires technical expertise. It is inapplicable in some urban areas of developing countries and in most rural areas world-wide.
  • New types of treatment technologies, including co-precipitation, ion exchange and activated alumina filtration are being field-tested.
  • There are no proven technologies for the removal of arsenic at water collection points such as wells, hand-pumps and springs.
  • Simple technologies for household removal of arsenic from water are few and have to be adapted to, and proven sustainable in each different setting.
  • Some studies have reported preliminary successes in using packets of chemicals for household treatment. Some mixtures combine arsenic removal with disinfection. One example, developed by the WHO/PAHO Pan American Center of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Sciences in Lima, Peru (CEPIS), has proven successful in Latin America.

WHO's activities on arsenic

WHO's norms for drinking-water quality go back to 1958. The International Standards for Drinking-Water established 0.20 mg/L as an allowable concentration for arsenic in that year. In 1963 the standard was re-evaluated and reduced to 0.05 mg/L. In 1984, this was maintained as WHO's "Guideline Value"; and many countries have kept this as the national standard or as an interim target. According to the last edition of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality (1993):

  • Inorganic arsenic is a documented human carcinogen.
  • 0.01 mg/L was established as a provisional guideline value for arsenic.
  • Based on health criteria, the guideline value for arsenic in drinking-water would be less than 0.01mg/L.
  • Because the guideline value is restricted by measurement limitations, and 0.01 mg/L is the realistic limit to measurement, this is termed a provisional guideline value.

The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality is intended for use as a basis for the development of national standards in the context of local or national environmental, social, economic, and cultural conditions.

The summary of an updated International Programme on Chemical Safety Environmental Health Criteria Document on Arsenic published by WHO is available at It addresses all aspects of risks to human health and the environment. The full text will be published in late 2001.

A UN report on arsenic in drinking-water has been prepared in cooperation with other UN agencies under the auspices of an inter-agency coordinating body (the Administrative Committee on Coordination's Sub-committee on Water Resources. It provides a synthesis of available information on chemical, toxicological, medical, epidemiological, nutritional and public health issues; develops a basic strategy to cope with the problem and advises on removal technologies and on water quality management. The draft of the report is available at

Information on arsenic in drinking-water on a country-by-country basis is being collected and will be added to the UN report and made available on the web site.

As part of WHO's activities on the global burden of disease, an estimate of the disease burden associated with arsenic in drinking-water is in preparation. A report entitled "Towards an assessment of the socioeconomic impact of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh" was released in 2000.

A United Nations Foundation grant for 2.5 million approved in July 2000, will enable UNICEF and WHO to support a project to provide clean drinking-water alternatives to 1.1 million people in three of the worst affected sub-districts in Bangladesh. The project utilizes an integrated approach involving communication, capacity building for arsenic mitigation of all stakeholders at subdistrict level and below, tube-well testing, patient management, and provision of alternative water supply options.

Urgent requirements

  • Large-scale support to the management of the problem in developing countries with substantial, severely affected populations.
  • Simple, reliable, low-cost equipment for field measurement.
  • Increased availability and dissemination of relevant information.
  • Robust affordable technologies for arsenic removal at wells and in households.

Global situation

The delayed health effects of exposure to arsenic, the lack of common definitions and of local awareness as well as poor reporting in affected areas are major problems in determining the extent of the arsenic-in-drinking-water problem.

Reliable data on exposure and health effects are rarely available, but it is clear that there are many countries in the world where arsenic in drinking-water has been detected at concentration greater than the Guideline Value, 0.01 mg/L or the prevailing national standard. These include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and the United States of America. Countries where adverse health effects have been documented include Bangladesh, China, India (West Bengal), and the United States of America. Examples are:

  • Seven of 16 districts of West Bengal have been reported to have ground water arsenic concentrations above 0.05 mg/L; the total population in these seven districts is over 34 million (Mandal, et al, 1996) and it has been estimated that the population actually using arsenic-rich water is more than 1 million (above 0.05 mg/L) and is 1.3 million (above 0.01 mg/L) (Chowdhury, et al, 1997).
  • According to a British Geological Survey study in 1998 on shallow tube-wells in 61 of the 64 districts in Bangladesh, 46% of the samples were above 0.010 mg/L and 27% were above 0.050 mg/L. When combined with the estimated 1999 population, it was estimated that the number of people exposed to arsenic concentrations above 0.05 mg/l is 28-35 million and the number of those exposed to more than 0.01 mg/l is 46-57 million (BGS, 2000).
  • Environment Protection Agency of The United States of America has estimated that some 13 million of the population of USA, mostly in the western states, are exposed to arsenic in drinking- water at 0.01 mg/L, although concentrations appear to be typically much lower than those encountered in areas such as Bangladesh and West Bengal. (USEPA, 2001)

Arsenic in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, West Bengal (India) and some other areas, most drinking-water used to be collected from open dug wells and ponds with little or no arsenic, but with contaminated water transmitting diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, cholera and hepatitis. Programmes to provide "safe" drinking-water over the past 30 years have helped to control these diseases, but in some areas they have had the unexpected side-effect of exposing the population to another health problem - arsenic.

Arsenic in drinking-water in Bangladesh is attracting much attention for a number of reasons. It is a new, unfamiliar problem to the population, including concerned professionals. There are millions of people who may be affected by drinking arsenic-rich water. Last, but not least, fear for future adverse health effects as a result of water already consumed.


  • In recent years, extensive well drilling programme has contributed to a significant decrease in the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases.
  • It has been suggested that there are between 8-12 million shallow tube-wells in Bangladesh. Up to 90% of the Bangladesh population of 130 million prefer to drink well water. Piped water supplies are available only to a little more than 10% of the total population living in the large agglomerations and some district towns.
  • Until the discovery of arsenic in groundwater in 1993, well water was regarded as safe for drinking.
  • It is now generally agreed that the arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh is of geological origin. The arsenic derives from the geological strata underlying Bangladesh.


  • The most commonly manifested disease so far is skin lesions. Over the next decade, skin and internal cancers are likely to become the principal human health concern arising from arsenic.
  • According to one estimate, at least 100,000 cases of skin lesions caused by arsenic have occurred and there may be many more (Smith, et al, 2000).
  • The number of people drinking arsenic-rich water in Bangladesh has increased dramatically since the 1970s due to well-drilling and population growth.
  • The impact of arsenic extends from immediate health effect to extensive social and economic hardship that effects especially the poor. Costs of health care, inability of affected persons to engage in productive activities and potential social exclusion are important factors.
  • The national standard for drinking-water in Bangladesh is 0.05 mg/L, same as in India.
  • District and sub-district health officials and workers lack sufficient knowledge as to the identification and prevention of arsenic poisoning.
  • The poor availability of reliable information hinders action at all levels and may lead to panic, exacerbated if misleading reports are made. Effective information channels have yet to be established to those affected and concerned.

Remedial actions

  • Within Bangladesh, a number of governmental technical and advisory committees have been formed and a co-ordinating mechanism established among the interested external support agencies. These committees include the Governmental Arsenic Co-ordinating Committee headed by the Minister of Health & Family Welfare (MHFW) and several technical committees. One of the positive outcomes of this collaboration (including work with local institutes) has been the testing of new types of treatment technologies.
  • So far, many initiatives have focused on water quality testing and control with a view to supplying arsenic-free drinking-water, thereby reducing the risk of further arsenic-related disease. The amount of testing required and the need to provide effective feedback to those using well water, suggest use of field testing kits.
  • Only a few proven sustainable options are available to provide safe drinking-water in Bangladesh. These include: obtaining low-arsenic groundwater through accessing safe shallow groundwater or deeper aquifers (greater than 200 m); rain water harvesting; pond-sand-filtration; household chemical treatment; and piped water supply from safe or treated sources.

For more information contact:

WHO Media centre
Telephone: +41 22 791 2222


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If Your Suntan Lotion Can
Change The Sex Of Fish,
What Can It Do To You?
The Stuff Is Not Only On Your Skin -
It's In Your Tap Water And Lunches, Too

By Geoffrey Lean

Environment Editor - The Independent


Spare a thought for the male hornyhead turbot. For despite its name, it is changing gender. And the sunscreens that symbolise bronzed sex appeal may be partly to blame.


Scientists have found that male hornyhead turbot and English sole, feeding near sewage outfalls on the Californian coast, are being feminised - and a chemical found in sunscreens is the likely culprit.


Meanwhile, Swiss researchers have found other suspected gender-bender chemicals from sun creams and oils building up in fish in their rivers.


Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, found that two-thirds of the male turbot and sole near a sewage outfall three miles off the surfers' paradise of Huntington Beach, near Los Angeles, were growing ovary tissue in their testes. A similar study by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project found fish affected all along the coast. The American research is the first to find sex changes in fish in the open ocean.


Research on the feminising of fish in British rivers by the UK Environment Agency, exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, concluded in 2002 that oestrogen in urine from the contraceptive pill was to blame


But the University of California scientists found that the only culprit they could "exclusively identify" is oxybenzone, used to protect the skin from the ultraviolet component of sunlight.


Oxybenzone, which mimics oestrogen's chemical make-up, is washed off tanned bodies in the shower, passes through sewage works unchanged and settles on the seabed, where bottom-feeding fish eat it.


The scientists suspect the sunscreens are a contributory factor along with other pollutants, which they have yet to identify, such as DDT and PCBs. The new Swiss research, however, shows two other suspected gender-bender substances used in sunscreen and lip balm - octocrylene and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor - also building up alarmingly in fish.


They fear that people are being exposed to the chemicals several times over, first by putting them on their skin, and then injesting them in drinking water and the fish they eat. But the cosmetics industry denies the chemicals are dangerous, and says that"sunscreen phobia" could lead to more cancers. For, unlike other cosmetics, sunscreens unquestionably save lives. About 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Britain each year, of which 7,300 are particularly deadly melanomas that kill more than 1,600 people a year. Cancer Research UK fears melanoma numbers will treble over the next 30 years.


However, there have been other concerns about potential health effects. Some clear sunscreens use nanoparticles so small that they can penetrate the skin and even get into the brain.


There is also concern about a the universal use of sunscreens. By shielding ourselves from sunlight, we produce less vitamin D, which protects against as many as 16 different cancers.




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