This story confirms the pill is damaging to health.
Health authorities estimate that 100 million women worldwide take some form of hormonal contraceptives; but there is still little media attention given to the growing concerns of scientists about its environmental impact. However, studies are leaking out into the mainstream press more frequently as public interest in the environment grows.
The Pill, along with numerous other commonly used chemicals, end up in the water system as estrogen. At a conference on breast cancer in Toronto in 1998, author and cancer surgeon Dr. Susan Love said, "Pollutants are metabolized in our bodies as estrogen. And it is lifetime exposure to estrogen that has increased world cancer rates by 26% since 1980....We live in a toxic soup of chemicals".
Studies are also showing significant evidence for a link between environmental estrogens and estrogen-like chemical pollutants and the earlier onset of puberty in girls.
The phenomenon of early-onset puberty in American girls is so pervasive, that the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society urged changing the definition of abnormal development. Ten years ago, breast development at age 8 was considered abnormally early, but a study in 1997 said that among 17,000 girls in North Carolina, almost half of blacks and 15 percent of whites had begun breast development by age 8. Studies from the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand have shown similar results.
The new definition for abnormally early breast development ought to be, the society says, 7 for white girls and 6 for black girls. Marcia Herman-Giddens, adjunct professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, said, "My fear is that medical groups could take the data and say 'This is normal. We don't have to worry about it.' My feeling is that it is not normal. It's a response to an abnormal environment."