Thursday, March 20, 2008

putting organic veggies and the Pill in your basket?

Recently I have stopped buying my hormone-free milk at Whole Foods because I can now get it at Harris Teeter and besides the shorter drive, I can evade the stares and glares from the former's eco-extreme shoppers. "You are single-handedly overpopulating the planet," I can almost hear them saying.

When I see folks putting $4 a pound organic apples and $7 a pound free range chickens in their carts I wonder if they counteract all that by popping artificial birth control pills. And while reading Mother Earth News (just for the agriculture stuff) there is always some real life story about a couple living off the electrical grid, usually in a yurt (a big ugly round tent) and eating veggies they grew in compost made from their own waste (perhaps a slight exaggeration)and how this lifestyle is the most wholesome for Mother Earth, I wonder if they too put artificial chemicals in their bodies to stop their reproductive system from behaving naturally.

After all, the folks at the grocery nor the ones in the magazine seem to have any children. 'Cause we all have been fed the line that children are evil and the cause of all the problems in the world. If children didn't exist there would be no global warming, no acid rain, no suburban sprawl (well...), no crime, no cutting down of trees, no progress. Of course with no children there would be no humanity either, but that seems to be a slight oversight. So it pleases me to see some mention of how the hormones in ABC are dangerous to people and the environment. Maybe by reading this a seed of truth will be planted in those tree-hugger's minds...

Birth control pills, like batteries and baby bottles, have become the latest item in American homes to become a focus of environmental and health concerns. As scientists debate the effects of synthetic hormones that are flushed into waterways, the potential threat has sparked a clash between advocates and critics of the pill.

"I've heard a little bit about the bad things that birth control can do to the environment," said Casale, 26, who lives in New York City. "If it's causing major problems, I guess I would stop.

In 2003, a group of scientists in Washington state made headlines when they discovered that traces of synthetic estrogen in the state's rivers had reduced the fertility of male fish. Hormonal birth control pills and patches were blamed.

David Norris, a physiology professor at the University of Colorado ...said numerous reports show that estrogenic chemicals in water can result in thyroid problems and an adrenaline imbalance. Thyroid inhibitors are of major concern because they affect the nervous system's development and can cause permanent mental retardation. (link to article)


Christina Martin said...

You make a really good point.

Michelle said...

I just recently grimaced through an article about all the prescription drugs they're finding in our water supply. Heart medicine, Viagra, birth control pills...I'm a civil engineer, studied the water cleaning process, repeatedly assure people about the quality of our water...but this made me doubt all that. We just don't test our water for this stuff, and untreated water (wells) are the same. We even give animals medicine (pets, livestock) and all that ends up in the water supply.

It's not good...

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Kat, the effects of drugs in the water has been a concern for some time now.

However, don't judge all of us who shop for free-range chicken and 'organic' meat too harshly.

In Albuquerque, it is easier and cheaper to get this meat than the certified kosher meat much of the time. So, although I might enjoy watching you and your brood shopping at the Natural Food Store, believe me, I am not judging your choice in number of children, I am just enjoying watching them.

And not all of us with smaller broods wanted it that way. Perhaps due to the hormones in our water, or the hormones in our meat, or even the estrogen imitators (hercides, Herb!) sprayed on the fields each year in the rural area where I grew up, but for whatever reason, I had great difficulty conceiving, and I have learned to be happy with what G-d has given me.

I have not added birth control hormones to the water. And I still have only two children.

Woman proposes, and G-d disposes!

Anyway, have a very uplifting Holy Week this week.

kat said...


I never want to be one of those moms who looks down at other moms because they have fewer children. Some women, like yourself, have found it impossible to get pregnant or stay pregnant. Infertility, whether primary or secondary is a tragic mystery and it would be cruel to suggest otherwise.

However, all moms with lots of little ones have experienced the stares and glares of moral superiority to know it when they see it. I have recounted here several nasty comments from folks, usually in grocery stores, and by people who assume that I am poor, uneducated, and trashy because I have a van-load of children. While many folks have said positive or neutral comments, the few horrid ones tend to stick in the memory.

But for you I'll try not to assume the shoppers with the $7 chicken are snobs.

Crimson Wife said...

Sad to say, I've found much more acceptance of NFP among crunchy granola moms than among the typical "Catholic" moms. The hippies tend to practice FAM with barrier contraceptives during the fertile window rather than the abstinence required by true NFP but they are as concerned as we are about putting chemicals into their bodies.

The recent study from Germany about FAM found it has similar effectiveness to the Pill so you can't assume that all those moms in Whole Foods with 1 or 2 kids are using hormonal contraceptives.

Sure, we can argue they shouldn't be using any form of artificial contraceptives at all, but the FAM users are much less problematic than all the women on the Pill/Patch/Shot/etc.