You wake up and take a sip from your plastic water bottle. You go to the store and grab a receipt from the cashier. You take a deep breath with the windows down in traffic on the 405. Maybe you rock out in a Kiss cover band and left your Gene Simmons makeup on for too long during one of your legendary benders.
Every day, we unwittingly expose our bodies to xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens that disrupt natural hormone production, adversely affecting our body’s endocrine system.
“Xenoestrogens?” You might ask. “Is that what Scientologists believe?” Close, but no Tom Cruise. Xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens are hormone-like compounds composed of either natural or organic chemical compounds.
These substances are so molecularly similar to estrogen that they can bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body and mimic the effect of natural, endogenous estrogen–and we encounter them every single day.
For guys, this is bad news. Any extra estrogen is too much! We don’t need any more than we naturally produce. That’s why those hoppy IPAs you’ve drinking might be the very thing causing those man boobs you’ve been starting to see in the mirror.
Xenoestrogens are “foreign” estrogens that come from outside the body through contact with the environment. Phytoestrogens are a natural compound produced by plants that enter the body when we consume them.
Xenoestrogens are harmful for both men and women, whereas phytoestrogens can offer some medical benefits for women.
Hormones, including estrogen, are produced by the body’s endocrine system, which regulates the distribution of hormones to the body’s tissues. Xenoestrogens are toxic endocrine disruptors, which can cause cancer, congenital disabilities, tumors, developmental disorders, and other fun stuff.
We encounter xenoestrogens throughout our daily lives in common products like cosmetics, lotions, glitter, sunscreens, plastic containers, receipts, vinyl flooring, and many foods and drinks. Phytoestrogens, or dietary estrogen, is found in soy-based foods like tofu, miso, and tempeh. So if you’re a boy, put down the soy.
If you live in California, you’ve probably heard of BPA, or bisphenol A. The use of BPAs in plastic products was discovered to lead to cancer. Proposition 65, which passed in 1986, requires companies and retailers to list harmful chemicals in products or packaging known to the state of California to cause cancer.
BPA is found everywhere: metal food and drink cans, bottle caps, jar lids, polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) piping, and plastic wrap. In addition to BPA, xenoestrogens are also found in PCB plastics, or polychlorinated biphenyl plastics, which are used to make adhesives, oil-based paint, caulking, fiberglass, felt, foam, and more.
Phthalates, a plasticizer used to make plastics more flexible, also contain high levels of xenoestrogens and are found in medical tubing, garden hoses, inflatable toys, and packaging.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a 2003 study in the U.S. Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health that examined cosmetics as a source of xenoestrogens. The study concluded that environmental contaminants, interacting with estrogen receptors, disrupt the functions of the endocrine system and have been linked to infertility, cancer, delayed puberty, and intrauterine development issues.
The study found that numerous household cosmetics contain xenoestrogenic compounds including phthalates, parabens, and aluminium, which have been linked to pregnancy loss, cancer, and gestational diabetes.
“Xenoestrogens are present as contaminants virtually everywhere,” the study reads. “In water, soil, food, and air, exposure to xenoestrogens occurs through household products, however…very often occupational exposures take place.”
While many of these xenoestrogens do not bioaccumulate in large quantities in the human body, it is our repeated daily exposure to them that ends up causing medical issues. Over time, the exposure to these compounds has affected our fertility.
Sperm count has declined by more than half over the past 38 years in the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand according to a 2017 study in the Human Reproduction Update by researchers at Hebrew University’s Hadassah Braun School of Public Health.
The study raised concern for the future of male fertility and health in western nations. Though the study did not examine the causes of the decline, environmental changes were thought to be a significant, if not predominant cause for the decline.
“Even though we did not study the causes, it’s clearly not genetic causes,” Dr. Hagai Levine, one of the study’s authors, said in a 2017 interview with CBC News. “It must be the change in the modern lifestyle and environment that we live.”
But wait! You say. I’m not some makeup-smeared rave-goer drinking out of the garden hose. I shop smart! I eat organic! I limit my contact with these chemicals! Even so, these contaminants make their way into our tributary water supplies, soil, and air, and end up in our bodies regardless of how much we try to control our intake.
Xenoestrogens are only one part of the problem. Think of all the pills America takes each day, from psychotropic medications to birth control. These chemicals enter our water supply as wastewater and other forms of pollution and are not water soluble, meaning they never biodegrade, instead compounding over time and leaching more contaminants. Glitter pollution is a particularly bad example of this at work.
But it doesn’t stop there. By entering our water supply, these chemicals affect our entire ecosystem, causing a microscopic migration between organisms.
“Pharmaceuticals are emitted from our bodies, homes, and factories, entering waterways and accumulating in fish, bugs, mollusks, crustaceans, birds, and warm-blooded animals,” explains a May 2019 article in The Atlantic:
“Areas around drug-manufacturing plants are hot spots for this kind of pollution. So too are watercourses near hospitals and aging sewage infrastructure. But medicinal compounds have also been detected in remote environments, imbuing surface waters even in Antarctica…”
“…Waterways can contain traces of many drugs—among them antifungals, antimicrobials, and antibacterials, as well as ones for pain, fertility, mood, sleeplessness, and neurodegenerative diseases. If current trends persist, scientists estimate, the volume of pharmaceuticals diffusing into fresh water could increase by two-thirds by 2050.”
If we want to know why the coral reef is dying, we should think about the sunscreens we’re wearing. If we want to know why certain cancers are more prevalent in some communities than others, we should look at the fluoride content of the tap water (yet another industrial waste product added to our water supply).
The World Health Organization has even admitted: “There are currently few systematic monitoring programs or comprehensive studies available on human exposure to pharmaceuticals from drinking water.”
It seems we’re always poisoning or being powered by the world. Where can we turn? What can we do?
Males are under daily biological (and psychological) attack. Our very environment threatens, minimizes, and feminizes our existence, causing us to feel directionless, lazy, sad, tired, and foggy. But we are men. When we see a problem, we don’t run.
There are tons of drugs today that advertise positive health benefits for men like vitality, virility, and sexual performance, despite doing the exact opposite.
Pills like Viagra have become a staple in American culture, but these same pills are made by companies like Pfizer Pharmaceutical and Bayer Pharmaceutical that create the very problems they’re offering to solve.
It’s time for change.
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It’s time for change. It’s time for CHOQ™.
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