On holiday recently, I saw a number of boys under the age of 12 with prominent bouncing breasts. They were large enough that had they been featured on a teenage girl, and being displayed so nakedly, there would have been much comment. Nor was this an isolated incident but something that is becoming more and more common, and it is not all due to a diet of junk food.
Certainly some of the boys were substantially overweight, but the fatty tissue growth around the breasts is usually due to estrogen so it is a reasonable assumption that they are being affected by excess estrogen. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of teasing those boys must endure, and of course part of the problem is that although they can take action on their diets to reuce their overall weight they are not in control of their estrogen intake.
Xenoestrogens are found in the environment through the food chain, usually in meat that has been treated with growth hormones, but it is the passing of estrogens into the water supply through synthetic hormone products such as the contraceptive pill and HRT that is becoming a major concern. There has been much documented research about the increased levels of estrogen in the water supply due it being passed through the urine of those taking synthetic hormones, and so into the water supply. Here, despite costly and endless filtration, traces of it are found still found in domestic water supplies.
In recent years there has been much debate about the rising estrogen levels in men, which has resulted in sperm counts dropping alarmingly. A study by the Medical Research Council found that Scottish men born since 1970 are 25 per cent less fertile than those born 20 years earlier – and that fertility is continuing to drop by two per cent a year.
And it’s not just affecting men as the paper also reported research showed that ethanol estradiol, a powerful form of estrogen, is causing up to half the male fish in our lowland rivers to change sex. A study published by the Environment Agency at the same time said that entire fish stocks in some stretches of water are irreversibly affected. Scientists believe the synthetic estrogen can feminize fish at levels as low as one part per billion.
To help protect the future hormone health of boys, a sensible approach would be to ensue they have a healthy wholefood diet, with as much from organic sources as possible, and certainly to restrict the amount of meat that could have been subject to growth hormones.