Daily News Archive
May 2, 2006
Penis Size Part of London's Debate
(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2006) Louis Guillette,
a renowned scientist at University of Florida who has documented fertility
and sex changes -- including decreasing penis size -- due to environmental
contamination, was drawn into London's pesticide-ban debate during a
lecture stop at the University of Western Ontario this past weekend.
The London Free Press reported on Guillette’s visit and talk show
interviews. “Based on his own scientific investigations, Guillette
said there's enough evidence pesticides put children, wildlife and the
ecosystem at risk.” "Just because you can go buy them at
the local stores doesn't meant that is appropriate use," he said.
As a zoologist, Guillette has spent the last decade studying the influence
of environmental contaminants on fetal development and reproductive
systems of wildlife and humans, including the differences between alligators
living in contaminated Florida lakes and those in cleaner ones. He found
abnormalities in sex organs, dramatic differences in egg-hatching rates
and hormone levels. Penis size of the animals from the polluted lake
was smaller than animals from the less-polluted lake. "This is
important because it is not just an alligator story. It is not just
a lake story. We know there has been a dramatic increase in penile and
genital abnormalities in baby boys," Guillette said.
A followup study by another scientist involving healthy couples with
5,000 healthy babies also found reduced penis size with higher contamination
levels. "Are (their penises) so small they are actually having
problems? We don't know. These are baby boys," he said. But rodent
studies have indicated more difficulty with fertility and other aspects
later on, he said. The researchers also found the alligators from contaminated
water had abnormal ovaries. Some of the abnormalities were traced to
chemical compounds with estrogen, a sex hormone. Estrogenic-type compounds
are found in some pesticides, including atrazine, mostly widely used
in North America for weed control.
Guillette said he doesn't support a total pesticide ban, saying their
use is proper for public health and probably in agriculture. But when
people can reduce their exposure they should, he said.