Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Seeking Chemical Culprits for Those Deformities

The term "endocrine disruptor" had not been coined when Rachel Carson was alive, but she was onto them.  Carson's groundbreaking 1962 book on the dangers of synthetic pesticides, Silent Spring, was prescient in many ways.  She wrote about what she termed "insecticide storage:" "There are indications that these chemicals lodge in tissues concerned with the manufacture of germ cells as well as in the cells themselves. Accumulations of insecticides have been discovered in the sex organs of a variety of birds and mammals. ... Probably as an effect of such storage in the sex organs, atrophy of the testes has been observed in experimental mammals. Young rats exposed to methoxychlor had extraordinarily small testes."

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