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Biotech Science

Pesticides Blamed for Fall in Male Fertility 68

hapdiddesigner writes "Man-Made Pesticides Blamed for Fall in Male Fertility Over Past 50 Years -- According to a new report by Michael Skinner of Washington State University in the June 3rd edition of Science Magazine, pesticides and environmental toxins can have a deleterious effect on fertility and susceptibility to disease for generations. A Commondreams.org posting of an Independent UK article states 'Pesticides and other man-made chemicals may lower male fertility for at least four generations, according to new research."' A Eurekalert.org copy of a Washington State University press release begins "A disease you are suffering today could be a result of your great-grandmother being exposed to an environmental toxin during pregnancy.'"
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Pesticides Blamed for Fall in Male Fertility

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  • I knew my daddy was smart when he never let his kids do any of the spraying in the garden (even as we got older). He even offers to come over and spray pesticides for us to this date.... Go dad!!
    • You do realize that just living near the pesticides is enough to get it into your body right?

      You and your chemlawn using motherfucking yuppy friends are why I hate society. You get some idiotic believe that something that totally rapes and murders plants magically will have no effect on humans and if you can't immediately see it you must not be exposed to it.

      The minute people realize that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING we do is interelated the better.

      That and my front and back lawn are decently healt
      • Although I agree with you about chemlawn, I'd also like to point out that keeping the plot surrounding your house covered in a carpet of grass is itself contrary to nature. That grass is probably a non-native species which contributes nothing to the local ecosystem. I'm not sure where people got the idea that a homogenous stretch of boring green is so pretty, when there are literally dozens of species of colorful ground covers that are native to any local area that would look much better. If you were to
        • I said my lawn was green. I did say it was because of one species of grass.

          We got odd ball weeds and things here and there growing. The point is it's not just some yellow'ed out field with a chemlawn poster...

          Tom
      • You do realize that just living near the animalicides is enough to get it into your stalk right?

        You and your ricin-using motherfucking yuppy friends are why I hate society. You get some idiotic believe that something that totally rapes and murders mammals magically will have no effect on us castor plants and if you can't immediately see it you must not be exposed to it.

        The minute herbs realize that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING we do is interelated the better.

        Hypocrites...

        Frizzy-Stamen Jr.
    • Dude, your dad is huffing the round-up.
  • Please note... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday June 06, 2005 @10:43AM (#12735971) Journal
    This is a study on rats, using what (according to the accompanying commentary; IANAF) is a fairly obscure pesticide used in vineyards, and performed at doses far above EPA limits.

    The development of persistent epigenetic modification is interesting, but turning this into "Man-Made Pesticides Blamed for Fall in Male Fertility Over Past 50 Years" is a good example of the idiocy rampant at both the Independent and Common Dreams.

    • Re:Please note... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QMO ( 836285 ) on Monday June 06, 2005 @10:49AM (#12736054) Homepage Journal
      The study may have been correctly done (other than concentrations of fungicide). The commentary, however, is not for the critical thinker.

      The article goes on to say, "If confirmed by further experiments, the findings could help explain the decline in human male fertility over the past 50 years." In other words, "This is priliminary research, and we don't know anything yet, but we'd like to alarm you, so you'll read more."

      Then at the end, some more alarming is done with the (to me) incredibly unsupported-yet-very-sure statement in the final paragraph.
      • The study may have been correctly done (other than concentrations of fungicide).

        I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the concentration they used -- this was a study of mechanism, not epidemiology, and they did it a completely appropriate way. It's just the hype and the hype of the hype that are drawing unwarranted conclusions.

    • Re:Please note... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) * on Monday June 06, 2005 @11:00AM (#12736206)
      Other studies have shown that it's more than just pesticides. A major concern is that plastics used in drinking bottles cause a major change in male hormones. This became fairly widely reported just a couple weeks ago, finally, too. They believe it affects male genital size, estrogen levels and so on.

      I'm not a "sky is falling" type of person, but I had been looking at buying a really nice "nalgene" plastic water bottle (the kind that you can order in different colors and that are really sturdy - see the Google store for an example of one). I did some research and found reason to be concerned. Or, rather, cautious. So for now, I'll drink my drinks out of non-plastic containers.

      While perhaps not scientifically proven, I think common sense would almost demand that we acknowledge that man made plastics and pesticides probably cause some undesired effects in humans. Making both of these products is not a simple, clean process and with enough exposure to the end-product, I think it's reasonable to suspect they could cause health problems of some sort to people.

      Scientific proof is, of course, a different issue. But until there is irrefutable proof, I think it's sensible to avoid them. I also avoid fruits with pesticides when I can (or at least clean them very well to do what I can to protect myself). Again, not because of anything irrefutably proven by science, but because common sense tells me that something intended to kill insects is probably not great for me, either. I'm sure not going to take an apple sprayed with RAID, for example.

      The problem I have is not with people who decide "I'll be safe until there's proof one way or the other", but with the people who scaremonger and invent facts or distort facts to push their causes like some of these groups do. It's beyond being cautionary and becomes just another tool for them to "dismantle" "the man" as they see him.
      • Re:Please note... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hadlock ( 143607 )
        The issue is with polycarbonate, or "plexi-glass looking" hard plastic. Soda bottle and tupperware type plastics don't release the carcinogens into the fluids contained within. Careful how you spread FUD.
      • Re:Please note... (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        AFAIK, Nalgene is intentionally impregnated with antifungal/antibacterial agents, making this a separate case from the dangers of plastics in general.

        It's ironic, really. Those Nalgene bottles were probably developed first for survival/military use, where a long-term risk of reduced fertility is much less threatening than the nasties all around you. Then someone got the bright idea of selling the convenience to the public at large while barely mentioning the chemical mechanism.

        Whose responsibility is it t
    • Re:Please note... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by N3Roaster ( 888781 ) <nealw.acm@org> on Monday June 06, 2005 @11:01AM (#12736224) Homepage Journal
      Studies that intend to find problems with pesticides and other artificial chemical products frequently test at doses that on first glance would seem to be too much. It's better to start out at doses so high you're going to get some problems. Future experiments can then lower that dose and quickly pinpoint the level of exposure needed for results.

      Of course, those followups aren't always performed and the press release is premature. A lot of news agencies don't bother to check if science stories are really stories because they don't understand it.
      • But what chemical isn't going to give you problems if you make the dose high enough?
        • You're right in that any chemical, artificial or otherwise, will give you problems at obscene doses. That doesn't mean we can't guess that some might be unsafe at doses that might be encountered. Testing higher than that lets you know if there might be a problem. Further testing tells you where the problem starts and if the possible problem is really a problem.
    • This is a study on rats, using what (according to the accompanying commentary; IANAF) is a fairly obscure pesticide used in vineyards, and performed at doses far above EPA limits.

      Even so, I'm filing a suit today. I'm gonna be wealthy! Yee haw!
    • Consensus Statement: Atlantic Coast Contaminants Workshop 2000 [nih.gov]

      It's relatively well known some chemicals mimic hormones or otherwise disrupt sexual functions in a number of animals.

      This is a study on rats

      This is a big problem with medical research today, many drugs are tested on rats, guinea pigs, and other animals, which doesn't really show what effects those drugs will have on humans. One candidate may not be effective as a drug on the species being used to test with whereas it may very well

  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Monday June 06, 2005 @10:47AM (#12736036) Journal
    I've known people with a 5% survival chance (cancer) that went on the "nothing but natural" diet. Only organic stuff, no pesisides, flavoring, etc. Their cancer went away...

    Now maybe that's just a couple of flukes, but it seems to me that chemicals we use a lot effect us more than we think.
    • A few questions (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lobsterGun ( 415085 ) on Monday June 06, 2005 @11:55AM (#12736736)
      How many people with a 5% cancer survival chance have you known?

      How many of the them tried your "nothing but natural" miracle-diet?

      Did they abstain from other forms of cancer treatment?

      • Ok, I don't know the actual %, but it was low.
        They were my old neighbor, and my fiance's current neighbor.

        Both did the natural diet, although in one the cancer came back years later. They tried other forms of treatment but without success to the best of my knowledge. Also, both cases were quite a while ago... probably 10 years at least. I do

        My point is not that doing so is a smart way to fight cancer, but it certainly makes you wonder how much chemicals not only effect your health directly, but al
    • I've known people with a 5% survival chance

      So...I expect 1 in 20 people who go on this diet to survive regardless of diet change. If two such people get cancer I'd expect both to survive 1 time in 400. Out of hundreds of thousands of active /. users (you're # 663,430) I'd expect a couple to fit this 1 in 400 category. So even if an all natural diet has no effect whatsoever on cancer I'd expect to see your post. So I really can't derive any useful information from it, sorry.

    • Understanding that this is anecdotal evidence, I would like to add my 2 bits of anecdotal evidence.

      I believe that it isn't so much whether or not the food has pesticides or dyes, but whether or not you are eating real food or processed food. If you are buying your food from the vegetable and meat section of the store, you tend to be doing a lot better than those who shop the breakfast aisle and the soda pop aisle.

      But this isn't rocket science. The foods on the shelves are designed to be addictive and to t
  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bimo_Dude ( 178966 ) <bimoslash.theness@org> on Monday June 06, 2005 @10:49AM (#12736060) Homepage Journal
    ...may lower male fertility for at least four generations

    Is it possible that there would not even be four generations if fertility is lowered?

    • Nah, you just keep trying. Here in the Philippines, women are famous for getting pregnant after one 'accident.' Of course, that happens everywhere, but some people have to try for a year or two.
      • I live one street over from Mabini, in Ermita, just near the US embassy - You make me laugh, I know more than a few handfuls of foreigners going home with troubled stories to tell the wife about this country.
  • We're going to run out of people!
  • what you are really saying is fresh vegtables are bad for you. Its ok, just come out and say it. Cause i'm fertile as an earthworm and I ate my grapes from a can.
  • The common sense-o-meter is an extremely valuable tool when analyzing research. It lets us know that a statistical preference for hamburgers among chemestry students compared to a statistical preference for hotdogs among Algebra students does not in reality have anything to do with the courses and is just a coincidence.

    In this case, the common sense-o-meter ticks because anyone who knows farmers is aware that almost all of them have kids and they usually have to count them in pairs. I would venture that a
    • Seems to me that common sense shows your counterexample is hooie.

      For a banker, a child is an economic liability, start to finish. It's also expected that the banker's offspring be able to attend a prestigious university like Harvard if he is capable of getting in.

      The farmer on the other hand starts using his children as free labor starting at the age of ten or perhaps even younger. The farmer is not expected to send his kids to college, at least if he does a state agricultural college is perfectly res
      • For the purpose of determining the fertility of farmers it really does not matter how fertile the bankers are or why they choose to have less children.

        My point remains solid as long the farmers can keep pumping out that free labor on a consistant basis.
  • The reason that DDT as used in pesticides was made illegal in the US and other places is because it does not decay, and produces appreciably reduced fertility in the males of many species, not just humans.

    The projections of 15-20 years ago about the knock-on effects of DDT usage were very scary, almost to the point that we should be amazed that there is a relatively balanced population in North America at this point.

    OTOH, for geeks, that means that soon enough there should be close to a 2:1 ratio of women
  • How about the rapid increase in RF radiation we're subjected to every day?
    • Cell Phones are insignificant when compared with submarine navigation systems, microwave links, and a thousand more emitters pumping out megawatts more energy, all of which has been going on for more like 70 years in various forms and frequencies.

      Rapid is the wrong word to use. Most domestic use stuff is down in the milliwatt range, so you could hold it against your privates for a lifetime without problem. (I'm sure someone will argue that statement though)
  • I don't consider this to be a bad thing.

    I really don't want the people in my community reproducing anyway...

    P.S. I live in a red state... figure it out.
  • i blame my vasectomy.
  • Scientists also report to not worry since the hormones that are fed to cows which increase milk production also increase breast size of humans as well.

    But they did include that it wasn't the fact that women would make up for lack of fertility on the men's part, but rather the men would have breasts too and would be too hideous to find a willing female thus making low fertility a moot point.
  • With 6+ billion people on the planet and little hope that we will max out before at least 12 billion, is lowered fertility really a bad this? I say lay on more pesticides!
    • With 6+ billion people on the planet and little hope that we will max out before at least 12 billion, is lowered fertility really a bad this? I say lay on more pesticides!

      Forget a population of 12 billion, it's doubtful we'll have a population of more than 9 billion. More and more people are having else and less children. For instance China's population is expected to start declining shortly and there is some concern that within 50 years there won't be enough people working to support those that will

  • These studies are incomplete because they only track the effects on the living. People who are dead or never born have zero fertility. Without food, babies die or are not born. Pesticides have a positive effect on food creation, and the effects of food on fertility vastly outweigh the effects of pesticides on fertility.

    The harm caused by pesticides is much less than the harm caused by pests, which is why humans live longer and better with use of pesticides. But we can do even better with GM crops that req

    • we can do even better with GM crops that require less pesticides,

      By using organic farming methods you can eliminate or reduce the use of pesticides.

      humans live longer and better with use of pesticides.

      Can you prove this?

      Researching effects of chemicals and pesticides upon health [chem-tox.com]

      Falcon Falcon

Seen on a button at an SF Convention: Veteran of the Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force. 1990-1951.

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