The Estrogen Effect: How Chemical Pollution Is Threatening Our Survival

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Scientists around the world are finding alarming changes in human reproduction and health due to our over-exposure to chemicals that can mimic the female hormone estrogen. These man-made chemicals, like DDT and PCB, have become soaked into our environment and are believed responsible for genital abnormalities and cancers across a wide range of species. Through extensive interviews with fertility experts and scientists worldwide, as well as members of the chemical industry, Cadbury provides a balanced, cogent ...

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Overview

Scientists around the world are finding alarming changes in human reproduction and health due to our over-exposure to chemicals that can mimic the female hormone estrogen. These man-made chemicals, like DDT and PCB, have become soaked into our environment and are believed responsible for genital abnormalities and cancers across a wide range of species. Through extensive interviews with fertility experts and scientists worldwide, as well as members of the chemical industry, Cadbury provides a balanced, cogent argument that these hormone-disrupting chemicals may pose a threat not only to our human potential, but to our very survival.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A harrowing chronicle of discovery . . . Cadbury, precise and evenhanded, carefully elucidates the research involved and the conclusions reached regarding our exposure to environmental estrogens."—Booklist

"Through extensive interviews and data mining, Cadbury has produced a balanced report about the impact that the wide use of chemicals may have on human fertility."—Science News

"Cadbury interviewed more than 40 European and American scientists about their research. She describes the work of Niels Skakkebaek in Denmark and Richard Sharpe in Scotland, who discovered how exposure to the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) could affect male reproduction, and of John McLachlan in the US, who looked for other estrogenic chemicals and found them in DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Evidence of increasing disorders of the human reproductive system, the rise in breast cancer, and declining sperm counts have been matched by wildlife data showing reproductive and developmental problems in fish, birds, and mammals and by laboratory studies showing how minute amounts of estrogenic chemicals could induce these changes. As research has continued, it has become clear that many chemicals not previously suspected are turning out to be estrogenic and that their presence in the environment is widespread. They are found in drinking water, packaging, food, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, even plastic baby bottles and human breast milk. Cadbury takes a critical look at the response of industry (delaying tactics), of governments (ordering that studies be conducted), and of scientists (some urging action, while others call for more research). She gives space to the arguments of those who insist that alarm is premature for too little is yet known about the routes of exposure and how these chemicals interact in the body, but she argues that we cannot ignore the growing body of evidence while waiting for definitive proof. If uncertainty is made the excuse for inaction, she warns, we may find out too late to undo the harm. A well-researched account that not only illuminates a complex and serious environmental problem but reveals how the international community of scientists works."—Kirkus Reviews

"A highly readable book with a dramatic presentation, this is a carefully crafted and footnoted history of a scientific debate that has profound implications."—f0Library Journal

"Deeply disturbing . . . A vitally important new book."—The Daily Mail (London)

"A very significant book . . . an excellent picture of the scientific investigation of this complex problem which could affect us all . . . Her book raises issues that should make the anxieties that have been raised over the cloning of Dolly the sheep look less important than a mosquito bite . . . a fascinating story."—Lewis Wolpert, The Times (London)

"Unsettling . . . This story needs to be repeated, and its grimmer details dwelt upon, until it provokes action instead of unease."—Mark Kohn, The Independent on Sunday (London)

"With a plot as strong as this, [The Estrogen Effect] could not fail to be gripping. [The author] has researched her subject in extraordinary depth, and the result is a thorough, level-headed and sophisticated book."—Stephen Young, BBC

"A readable, concise, and accessible account . . . Her book reads like a detective story, as in fact it is: and it conveys the excitement of discovery very well . . . [Readers] will be enthralled."—Theodore Dalrymple, The Sunday Telegraph (London)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312267070
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/6/2000
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Cadbury is an award-winning journalist, specializing in the fundamental issues of science and its effect on society. She has produced science programs for BBC television and has won numerous international science film awards, including an Emmy.

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