September 6, 2009

There’s always been more baby boys than girls…until now

In industrialized nations like Canada, there are about 105 boys born for every 100 girls. This ratio has been stable for a long time until recently. In the past couple of decades it has changed dramatically around the world. These changes are due to either environmental disturbances or reproductive technologies and abortion. In China, for example, where the ratio is 120 boys born for every 100 girls, there has been a history of selective abortion of female fetuses.

What I’m more interested here is in the effects that our reliance on plastics has on the boy-to-girl baby ratio. Our anti-Nature ways are coming home to roost. Petrochemical pollution has created a soup of endocrine disrupting chemicals in our water, soil, and air. We all know about the hormone-mimicking effects of the BPA in our water bottles. Check out the the frightening CBC documentary called The Disappearing Male. In the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, many more girls have been born than boys in the past 15 years. The ratio has gone from around 105-100 to an astonishing 70 boys for every 100 girls. The evidence points to this community’s proximity to petrochemical and plastics plants that have released PCBs, heavy metals, and numerous other chemicals damaging to reproduction in amounts that far exceed safe levels.

In India, where the ratios were skewed by the selective abortion of females, the trend is now toward more girls being born than boys (The Independent). Those who have campaigned against the selective abortion of female fetuses claim victory. But could it be that endocrine disruptors from pollution have altered the balance there as well?

We all rely on cars and plastics for our way of life. It wasn’t that long ago that we Canadians could be proud of our connection to the wilderness and how much pristine land we had. Turns out it had nothing to do with our attitudes toward Nature; we just had such a big country and there were so few of us. We are as willing to destroy the planet as anyone else and sell off our children’s future to the highest bidder, in this case the Chinese government This week it bought a stake in the dirty oil projects in Alberta. Again, this is having a huge impact on First Nations people living in the area. (see The Globe's "Not really a green country any more".)

1 comment:

benjibopper said...

Miia's reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck right now; you read it? She's riveted, and appalled.