We were all appalled and concerned when scientists unveiled last week that plastic has polluted tap water all around the world. Sixth Degree reports that:

“The study took 159 drinking water samples from across the world.  Almost 83 percent of this tested positive for synthetic fibers. So far we believed, plastic was coming back to us through food. Now, water too is becoming carrier. (…) Many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties also have negative environmental and human health effects.”

These effects include direct toxicity, cancer and endocrine disruption, which can lead to menstrual pain, menstrual disorders, cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.

An endocrine disruptor is “an exogenous agent that interferes with the synthesisreleasetransportmetabolismbindingactionor elimination of natural hormones in the body responsible for the maintenance of homeostasisreproductionregulation of developmental processes and/or behavior” [1]

The World Health Organisation published the State of the Science of Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals in 2012, stressing the life-threatening effects of these chemicals, which have been used in massive amounts without being properly tested for health and safety, for lack of good will or knoweledge at the time of discovery.

Endocrine disruptors comprise more than 100.000 synthetic chemical compounds that belong to different classes. A subset of the endocrine disruptors, including synthetic estrogens, natural products, commercial chemicals, industrial compounds, or by-products among which plastics, are known as environmental estrogens or xenoestrogens; they confer estrogenic potential (“estrogenicity”) translated as affinity to the estrogen receptors (ER) (α or β), thus ability to activate expression of estrogen-dependent genes or stimulation of cell proliferation of ER-competent cells. [2]

Plastic is not the only carrier, though. Xenoestrogens are contained in pesticides, cosmetics and makeup are, food cans, personal care and house hygiene products; hormonal contraceptives are too. 

Yet, they are hardly ever mentioned. I don’t want to discuss the possible reasons here. This post wants to raise the issue that hormonal contraception needs to be rediscussed by those who use it, in collaboration with the scientific community, because we can do better, in terms of health safety, informed choices and patient-doctor relationship.

Any choice a woman makes is legit, but it is her right and responsibility to make an informed choice. What is an informed choice? It means to be understand all options available, with their pros and cons, in terms of health safety, efficacy, cost, reliability and personal values.

Download Brochure Medulla – The Pill,  share it with your friends and partners, and join the conversation!

 

Yours, Anna

“Now it is the time to know more, in order to fear less” Marie Curie

 

 

Bibliography

[1] Kavlock RJ, Daston GP, DeRosa C, Fenner-Crisp P, Gray LE, Kaattari S, Lucier G, Luster M, Mac MJ, Maczka C, Miller R, Moore J, Rolland R, Scott G, Sheehan DM, Sinks T, Tilson HA (1996) Research needs for the risk assessment of health and environmental effects of endocrine disruptors: a report of the USEPA-sponsored workshop. Environ Health Perspect 104(Suppl 4):715–740, Google Scholar

[2] Katzenellnbogen JA (1995) The structural pervasiveness of estrogenic activity. Environ Health Perspect 103(suppl 7):99–101