Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES [sítio] explores why our environment has become saturated with synthetic chemicals that disrupt hormones, and asks what we can do to protect human and environmental health. Since World War II, these chemicals have penetrated into every aspect of our bodies and ecosystems, yet our government has largely failed to regulate them.
At the center of Toxic Bodies is the troubling case of diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first synthetic hormone that poisoned women, workers, children, and livestock, consumers, and wildlife. Although researchers knew that DES caused cancer and disrupted sexual development, doctors prescribed it for millions of women, initially for menopause and then for miscarriage, while farmers gave cattle the hormone to promote rapid weight gain. Its residues, and those of other chemicals, in the American food supply are changing the internal ecosystems of human, livestock, and wildlife bodies in troubling ways.
Toxic Bodies argues that the industry and the federal government knew as early as the 1940s that these chemicals caused cancer and disrupted sexual development. Yet they were approved by regulatory agencies and widely marketed to producers and consumers. Toxic Bodies explores how scientific uncertainty has been manipulated to delay regulation, and shows how we can use history to make better policy.
A parable about environment and our daughters’ health
Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, June 2010Although this book is backed by scientific references, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the fetal impact of DES are often referred to as complex, which is not really the case. A clearer mechanistic discussion, vital to non-scientists who make critical decisions on new drugs and chemicals that impact our safety, could have been provided through more careful presentation.
Otherwise, Toxic Bodies provides a well-documented narrative that exposes the DES legacy and interweaves it with accounts of other estrogen-like contaminants that are saturating our environment, such as pesticides and plastics, which the author convincingly contends will have yet-to-be-identified harmful effects on our daughters for generations to come