Public health advocates, environmentalists and laundry workers have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban “gender-bender” chemical additives found in some household detergents and other cleaning agents.
They‘re also calling for studies on the human risks related to nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), which are known to be potent endocrine disrupters. These chemicals are already thought to be the cause of male fish transforming into females in waterways around the world.
Some believe these transformed fish may be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, pointing toward a much larger human problem. About 250,000 fewer boys have been born in the last 30 years in the United States and Japan, and scientists are linking the phenomenon to a body accumulation of these types of gender-bending toxins.
As endocrine disrupters, NPEs affect gene expression by turning on or off certain genes, and interfere with the way your glandular system works. They mimic the female hormone estrogen, which is the reason behind some marine species switching from male to female.
Approximately 400 million pounds of NPEs are manufactured in the United States each year.
Organic Consumers Association June 6, 2007
Natural Health—A Much Better Way July 21, 2007