Hormones, and age as a disease: A really bad idea.

Grieves

Senior Member
For almost a century now aspects of our internal chemistry have been open to synthesized production and somewhat more recently patent, leading to all sorts of interesting breakthroughs in the medical field. Sex hormones, both female and male, are such a substance. The effective ingredients in birth-control medication, female sex hormones like progesterone and estrogen when kept at certain levels prevent ovulation. This method of birth-control has proven highly and increasingly desirable over the years. They have a slurry of side effects (I remember my sister started taking them back in the day not because she was sexually active, but because she understood they had a fair chance of increasing breast-size and was very self-conscious in that department at the time) but most are quite manageable.

So what's the downside? Well, as of yet we've no effective means through which to filter these hormones out of our sewage. Thus the urine and fecal matter of women on birth-control, though often treated by traditional methods, remains relatively rich in these female sex hormones when it finds its way back into the water-cycle. Where water is concerned, especially in North America, we unfortunately do a lot of 'shitting where we eat', meaning treated sewage is dumped into the great lakes, and the great lakes are the source from which water is drawn, treated, and piped into our taps. All the piss and shit is filtered away, and the water is left more or less safe, but again, there is no process through which hormones can be mass-filtered. Thus, all over North America, tap-water is lightly contaminated by female sex hormone, as well as a slurry of other pharmaceutical products we don't have the technology to filter (including anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, ect.) These amounts are relatively tiny of course, often crossing into the ppb/ppt over ppm, but the effect it's having on our wildlife is well documented (fish, for example, experience feminizing/asexual mutations) and many studies link the rapid decrease in human male fertility with these substances.

As if in an effort to 'balance things out', testosterone has risen to the challenge, with a new product called 'Andro-gel'. Advertised as a substance to combat 'Low-T', a new medical condition that previously was simply called 'getting old', Andro-gel is a substance which contains a high concentration of testosterone, and is a gel or lotion which one rubs into various 'application sites' in order to give their testosterone levels a considerable boost. It's very important, as they advertise, you not touch this stuff with your hands though, as even after a relatively vigorous wash, everything you touch for some time will be contaminated with testosterone, which other people can easily absorb. You also can't let anyone touch your 'application areas' for the same reason. Children should not be allowed to so much as touch the bottle, as trace-contact with the stuff can lead to early-onset puberty. Grown women who come into contact with the stuff are warned of 'hair growth in uncommon areas'. This is powerful, powerful stuff... and what does one do with the excess?
Wash it down the sink.

I'm not against contraception, or against old guys getting a stiffy... but is gradually saturating the water-cycle with human sex hormones not a ridiculously bad idea...?
 

Jay_Bee

New Member
According to the doctrine of microbial infallibility, bacteria are already evolving to chew up these molecules (although maybe not fast enough to reduce them to the level of detection when sewage water leaves the plant).

Fish downstream of paper plants are subject to gender-bending due to the levels of hormone-like substances released in the paper-making process. The source of these chemicals is actually tree bark - not a problem when trees decay over thousands of acres, but it becomes one when so many trees are transported to one spot for processing. Plant sterols from the wood get released into the water, converting it to androstenedione:

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=01-P13-00001&segmentID=6
 
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