I’m reading a fascinating book, Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Dr. Leonard Sax. Dr. Sax’s fourth factor is endocrine disruptors – chemicals in the environment that mimic female sex hormones that are affecting male animals around the world, including human males. I had vaguely heard about this problem, but the research and theories Dr. Sax reports on is eye opening. Like our bodies, the environment is a soup of chemicals that works in a delicate harmony, and the amount of pollution the environment is receiving is reaching levels equal to taking medicine for our bodies.
Since the beginning of the industrial age we’ve been dumping billions of tons of countless man-made chemicals into the environment, and we’ve yet to learn the ultimate outcome of these actions. If climate change deniers are freaking out over the idea of global warming, based on one natural element being increased in the environment, what will they make over sex hormone pollution? It was one thing to hear back in 1996 that synthetic sex hormone mimics were affecting amphibians and fish, but it’s a whole other thing to think they’re affecting human boys growing up today.
A good recent overview of the problem is “How Chemicals Affect Us” by Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times. Also read his older piece, “It’s Time to Learn From Frogs.” A more sensational piece is “Boys with Boobs” by Beth Greer at Huffington Post. Greer has several recommendations on how to avoid the kind of chemicals that can affect our sex hormones. [Man, I’m giving up drinking from plastic bottles!]
To read more of these types of articles on your own follow this link to Google.
Dr. Sax’s theory about endocrine disruptors and boys takes these protests up a quantum leap.
Dr. Sax theorizes that endocrine disruptors are making girls reach puberty earlier and boys later, partly explaining why boys are having so much trouble in school. Girls are now doing much better in school and college than boys and his book Boys Adrift tries to explain why. One of Dr. Sax’s theories suggests that endocrine disruptors are changing boys at a sexual hormonal level thus affecting their learning personalities. I don’t know how much research has gone into this hypothesis but it’s a very interesting one. Plus, I must point out that Dr. Sax has an array of theories about various problems affecting boys, endocrine disruptors are just one – but I think a significant one.
Is sex hormone pollution enough to change the dominant gender in our society from men to women? Sax doesn’t say that, but that’s what I’m reading into the story. What will the climate change deniers make over that idea? If Dr. Sax’s hypothesis is correct, and I’m not saying that it is, this will take the whole issue of man-made pollutions to a much higher level of impact than ever before. It’s one thing to change the biosphere, it’s a whole other issue to fundamentally change humans.
You can read Boys Adrift at Google Books.
JWH – 10/31/13