The Devastating Impact of Pseudo Estrogens in Our Environment

by Kaayla T. Daniel Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & ChildComments: 44

otter and bodybuilders

By Kaayla Daniel PhD

Otters are furry, fun-loving creatures that are experiencing some serious reproductive system birth defect these days apparently due to exposure to pseudo estrogens in their environment. According to UK researchers, the reproductive organs of male otters have been shrinking, or more precisely, the penis bone known as the baculum has lost both size and weight.

Worse, those otters are also likely to have undescended testicles and cysts on the tubes that transport their sperm.

These worrisome studies have implications for human males as well despite the fact that men don’t have a baculum.

The reason is that the otter problem is but one manifestation of a worldwide increase in male reproductive birth defects. Indeed, it’s happening in all species tested, and also includes decreases in both the quality and quantity of sperm.

The bad news about otters comes from British scientists working on the Cardiff University Otter Project and at the Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring (CHEM) Trust. Between 1992 and 2009, the researchers collected 755 otter carcasses and focused on measuring, weighing and closely examining their reproductive parts.

Although the scientists admit they don’t know for sure what’s causing the changes,they think pseudo estrogen exposure should take the blame. BPA, phthalates and other estrogenic chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, drugs, plastics, cans and pesticides have contaminated the environment, including the rivers where the otters live.

What’s the takeaway for humans regarding the negative health effects of pseudo estrogens? First of all, it’s not just male fertility at stake.

Environmental pseudo estrogens adversely affect women as well, contributing to thyroid disorders, infertility, painful menstrual cycles, difficult menopauses, and increased breast cancer risk. Secondly, pseudo estrogens polluting our environment play a role in the modern epidemic of depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD and other mental health disorders.

Given the extent of the problem, it’s easy to fall into despair, but the bottom line is every one of us can make dietary and lifestyle choices that will reduce our exposure to pseudo estrogens. These choices include:

  • Refusing to buy commercial produce and factory-farmed meats, and opting instead for organic, free-range and pastured foods.
  • Investing in a top-quality home water filter system. Tap waters include environmental estrogens from pesticides and other sources as well as residues from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. Good filters also take out fluoride and chlorine,poisons that potentiate estrogens, further putting our thyroids and reproductive systems at risk.
  • Purchasing non-toxic toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. These products come in contact with intimate parts of the body where tissues are thin and access to the bloodstream easy, providing yet another worrisome source of exposure. Sadly, many “BPA free” products contain estrogenic BHT or the cousin chemical BPS which is just as toxic.
  • Rejecting soy infant formula, and limiting the consumption of soy milk and soy foods, particularly for children. The presence of soy on this list may surprise people because it does not usually turn up on lists of environmental estrogens. However, all soybeans — organic, hybrid and GMO — contain high levels of plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). Although not identical to human estrogens, they are close enough to cause considerable hormonal havoc. The results are similar to the reproductive tract problems caused by excessive exposure to other environmental estrogens. Soy consumption has been linked to hypospadias, a birth defect in which the opening of the penis is located on the underside rather than at the tip. A European Commission study is currently underway, investigating a possible link between vegetarian diets, soy consumption and hypospadias. While soy consumption is clearly not part of the otter problem, soy should be understood to be one more environmental estrogen capable of contributing to the constellation of birth defects found by the UK researchers in otters, and increasingly prevalent in humans and other species.

In a statement to the UK Daily Mail about the otter research, Gwynne Lyons, director of the CHEM Trust, summed up the situation well:

“These findings highlight that it is time to end the complacency about the effects of pollutants on male reproductive health. . . . The effects reported in otters may be caused by the same EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals) that are suspected to contribute to the declining trends in men’s reproductive health and cause testicular cancer, undescended testes and low sperm count. In reality humans and wildlife are exposed to a cocktail of many chemicals every day and some may be adding up to cause problems.”


For more about the otter study:

For a more extensive discussion about soy and other environmental estrogens and a long list of citations read chapter 29 of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food (New Trends, 2005).

About the Author

dr kaayla danielKaayla T. Daniel, PhD, is the author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food endorsed by leading health experts, including Drs Joseph Mercola, Larry Dossey, Kilmer S. McCully, Russell Blaylock and Doris J. Rapp.

Kaayla has been a guest on The Dr.Oz Show, PBS Healing Quest, NPR’s People’s Pharmacy, and many other shows.

Kaayla  is known as The Naughty Nutritionist because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths. You can find her on Facebook at and subscribe to her edu-taining blog at


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Comments (44)

  • Sara Sharp via Facebook

    I missed that Sheri Youngquist. Thanks.

    April 25th, 2014 8:50 am Reply
  • Nikki Ake via Facebook

    Is there a home water filter that can be easily installed and uninstalled? We are a military family that moves quite often.

    April 25th, 2014 8:05 am Reply
  • Jennifer Addeo Arbach via Facebook

    We have a generation of children who were raised on soy-based infant formula, eat soy derivatives with nearly everything they put in their mouths and are exposed to the things mentioned in this article. Dare I speculate that it has anything to do with the feminization of our male children?

    April 25th, 2014 7:04 am Reply
  • Sheri Youngquist via Facebook

    The pill IS mentioned in the suggestion to get a whole house water filter. Thx HHE for sharing this article.

    April 25th, 2014 6:44 am Reply
  • Marie Gagnon via Facebook

    Have you seen on daytime TV that lawyer add for boys affected by an ADHD medication. This drug makes boys grow breast!!! How awful and sad!

    April 25th, 2014 6:21 am Reply
  • Aurelie Cous via Facebook

    And girls!

    April 25th, 2014 1:29 am Reply
  • Jordan AndSamantha Railsback via Facebook

    Agreed. The pill is a huge issue. Its completely destroying our water supply, and ruining hormone balance in both males and females

    April 24th, 2014 11:00 pm Reply
  • Sara Sharp via Facebook

    ^ yes!
    The other tips in the article are very helpful, but that is a glaring omission, I agree.

    April 24th, 2014 10:50 pm Reply
  • Joan Bishop via Facebook

    this article does not even touch on the pill, how estrogen from the pill is poising our water supply and it’s effect on nature, animals and humans. Or is hormonal contraception such a sacred cow that no one dares mention the elephant in the estrogen filled room?

    April 24th, 2014 10:39 pm Reply
  • Alma Aranda via Facebook

    Asians are known to ingest huge amounts of soy, and they don’t have reproductive issues, all the contrary

    April 24th, 2014 10:30 pm Reply
  • Lindsey Reichmuth via Facebook


    April 24th, 2014 10:05 pm Reply
  • Deborah Alberta Bramel via Facebook

    The Healthy Home Economist, can you set this to share?

    April 24th, 2014 10:04 pm Reply
  • NancyRick Boitos via Facebook


    April 24th, 2014 9:48 pm Reply
  • clic

    Whoa, superb blog page composition! How much time have you ever been blogs pertaining to? you’ve made writing a blog view simple. The complete glimpse of this web-site is very useful, much less this article!

    January 15th, 2014 4:14 pm Reply
  • Belle Miller

    Why does the link for non-toxic toilet paper take you to Seventh Generation toilet paper on This very website has published an article about how recycled toilet paper actually exposes you to MORE toxins. Read here:

    June 27th, 2013 3:57 pm Reply
  • Kristie

    In my neck of the woods, if I refused to eat commercial produce or meat, I wouldn’t be eating. :/ Unfortunately, pastured meat hasn’t quite caught on here just yet.

    June 25th, 2013 5:03 pm Reply
    • Beth

      I grew up in an area like that; it stinks that it’s so difficult to find real food in so many places. I recently discovered that such things as pastured meats and organic grains and such can be ordered online if you do some digging. is one and even amazon carries some things. I know it doesn’t help with fresh produce, but the clean15/dirty dozen lists can help a bit. Here’s hoping that real, sustainable food continues gaining momentum!

      June 26th, 2013 6:34 pm Reply
  • Diana

    I had estrogen dominance when I conceived my son and he has a small ‘you-know, you-know’ in comparison to my husband and other members of my family (I’ve busted through the bathroom door in a rush enough to know (eek)) and also other wee ones his age. I’m certain this is the reason for it and am working very hard to rectify the situation before conceiving again. If only I’d been aware of the WAPF, etc, prior to conceiving the first time! (I got pregnant the first time courtesy of red clover – which I don’t recommend as it’s merely getting around a problem and not fixing it).

    June 25th, 2013 4:54 pm Reply
  • jason and lisa

    ive said before this is why men are acting more and more like women and also….. more and more gay men.. im sure someone will argue that gay men have always been around but im convinced that they havent been around to the degree they are today.. boys are expressing stronger and stronger female traits and at younger and younger ages and its not because weve become a more progressive society that is willing to accept such has nothing to do with that..

    -jason and lisa-

    June 25th, 2013 4:24 pm Reply
    • Beth

      SCIENCE has proven that sexual orientation is genetically determined. There is nothing wrong with being homosexual in any way.
      (I happen to be straight and Christian, and in the original Greek and Hebrew the Bible does not discriminate either.)

      June 26th, 2013 5:40 pm Reply
      • Kathy

        Umm Beth I don’t know what you’ve been smoking but ALL versions of the Bible call the acting out of homosexual temptations “An abomination”. And yes it is a sin it’s called adultery. Do you remember that crazy thing called the 6th Commandment: “Thou shall not commit adultery” That means any sex outside of marriage is a sin whether that be heterosexual, homosexual, beastiality etc.

        June 26th, 2013 11:50 pm Reply
        • Beth

          If you’ll notice, I said the original Greek and Hebrew. The Bible wasn’t written in English. Given that these are ancient languages that are signifigantly different from their modern descendants and that going even between modern languages can lose quite a bit in translation it is easy to see how human error can enter the picture. And don’t forget that Jesus commanded us not to judge others and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Notice He did not add any qualifications to that.
          And surely you don’t agree with slavery? The Bible condones that. And polygamy? That too. Personally, I find the teachings directly from the messiah to be more important than anything else. Jesus did not say one word about homosexuality despite the fact that He was in a Roman province so it was certainly going on around Him. His commands were all about love, so as far as I am concerned if people love each other enough to get married, let them get married.

          June 27th, 2013 5:36 pm Reply
          • Kathy

            If you’ll notice Beth, I said ALL versions of the Bible and by that I meant ALL versions including those in Greek and Hebrew. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Old Covenant not negate it. Jesus did in fact command us to keep the 10 Commandments but added to it to Love one Another as our selves…that however does not mean that we are to condone sinful behavior. Beth I’m sure there are people that struggle with homosexual attraction, however that does not mean they should act out this attraction. It is against the natural law of nature in addition to Divine Law. Let’s say for instance that you Beth were tempted to steal, that every fiber in you body was screaming go steal that (fill in the blank). Do you act on that impulse? No. Why? Because it is against the law. Divine law. I do sympathize with people that struggle w/same sex attraction, that does not mean however that an entire lifestyle should be created around it.

            June 28th, 2013 4:49 pm
          • Lauren

            Beth, where the hell did jason and lisa say that they hated gays. This is the bull that pisses me off. Just because someone doesn’t agree with it doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Just because they don’t agree that you are born gay doesn’t mean they hate gays! Second, what science are you talking about? NWO science? Gay people can’t make more babies, works out great for them. Get a grip!

            June 28th, 2013 7:12 pm
      • jason and lisa

        beth i wasnt bringing the bible in to the picture in any way shape or form.. im just saying that i think there is a connection between estrogen in the water and bpa/soy in everything having an impact on boys in general.. when a man wants to become a woman and is set for surgery, they take estrogen drugs to take on more feminine features and of course when a woman seeking to be male takes testosterone the effect is reversed.. i wouldnt even argue that sexual orientation isnt genetically determined but i would argue the possibility that such chemicals could change the genetic code of the offspring.. and bible or no bible (no hate towards anyone) i dont see how that isnt at least a logical argument.

        -jason and lisa-

        June 28th, 2013 11:06 pm Reply
        • jason and lisa

          but because its now an argument i dont agree with homosexuality.. i dont think its right by religion or nature.. in fact, taking all religion out of the picture and using only the laws of nature rather than the laws of man; homosexuality be it genetic coding or not, is an abnormality and viewed by nature as such.. the logic in this is that nature has written in to its own code that two humans of the same sex CANNOT reproduce in any way and pass the abnormality to another generation..(you can practice the act all you want but the abnormality dies with you). Nature, whether designed by the laws of the universe or by a divine power, was written so this will not lead to the production of offspring. This doesnt mean that we cant write the human law so that homosexuals can get married and even adopt children but it does imply that no matter how you roll the dice, in principal, child rearing is to be done by a man and a woman. and little boys are designed to grow up to like women, and little girls are designed to grow up to like men.. nothing natural about the back door; regardless of a perversion.. i actually think from a global leadership standpoint its a very smart thing to try and increase the numbers of homosexuals and homosexual acceptance.. nobody can deny the fact that the global population is growing out of control and too many children are parentless living in government systems draining countries dollars left and right.. its unsustainable by every definition of the word.. altering the genetic code and increasing the numbers of people that 1. cant reproduce and 2. can legally adopt children confronts both of these issues.. its genius actually.. but im sure someone will be offended by this also..

          -jason and lisa-

          June 28th, 2013 11:26 pm Reply
          • Lauren

            Thank you Jason and Lisa, I could not agree more. Beth is clearly being defensive and illogical. She refuses to see that Bible or not, it is completely against the laws of nature. And putting estrogen into a mans body WILL ABSOLUTELY an effect on that man.

            June 29th, 2013 12:34 pm
          • Lauren

            Beth, you clearly are a defensive idiot. Looking back at the original comments, Jason and Lisa said nothing about right or wrong or discrimination. What does you being a straight christian have anything to do with what they said? A square peg was made for a square peg and a circle for a circle. Clear as day a penis was made for a vagina. A man’s sperm was made for a woman’s egg. Your defensive, illogical argument about discrimination and loving one another and the bible, has absolutely nothing to do with what Jason and Lisa said.

            June 29th, 2013 12:51 pm
          • jason and lisa

            thank you lauren

            -jason and lisa-

            June 29th, 2013 1:00 pm
  • Bunny

    I read somewhere that chemical endocrine disruptors are bad because they are a strong estrogen, and they attach to estrogen receptors in the body and wreak havoc that way. Phytoestrogens are weak estrogens, so they do not have the same effect. Supposedly this is also why Asian countries do not have ‘hot flashes’ and other symptoms during menopause, because they consume soy and this balances out the ‘estrogen dominance’ that their body has when their progesterone levels drop in menopause. At least that is a theory, I’ve only touched the surface of the research so I wouldn’t know for sure.

    June 25th, 2013 11:56 am Reply
  • Jennifer

    I jut followed the link to the non-toxic toilet paper, and found Seventh Generation paper with a large percentage of recycled paper. I just read your previous article about the high levels of BPA and BPH in recycled toilet paper — isn’t that what this article is telling us to avoid? Conflicting info coming out of your stories. Here’s the toilet paper article:

    June 25th, 2013 11:23 am Reply
    • Beth

      Are there any toilet papers that do not have BPA that the recycled ones are reported to have, and that do not have the dioxins from bleaching agents that the regular ones have?

      June 27th, 2013 11:36 am Reply
  • Leticia Velasquez

    What about the estrogen from birth control pills excreted in millions of households? This is recognized in many other scientific journals, but you who consider yourself controversial, debunking science myths have neglected this well established cause of estrogen in the water supply. I hope you are not succumbing to political correctness.

    June 25th, 2013 11:11 am Reply
    • Diana

      The article clearly states birth control pills and estrogen in the water supply. I think some people are skim reading?!

      June 25th, 2013 4:49 pm Reply
    • Janet Clark

      See Wise A, O’Brien K, Woodruff T. Critical review: are oral contraceptives a significant contributor to the estrogenicity of drinking water?. Environ Sci Tech. 2011;1:51—60. To quote “Veterinary use of estrogens may be five times greater than the use for oral contraceptives.” among other findings.
      This article is nicely discussed at the Women’s Environmental Health Network.

      Yes estrogens and their mimics are a huge problem, but the article you cite (and earlier articles by the authors) state that discussion chooses EES out of a soup of these estrogen hormones. The best source reduction approach is organic gardening and farming and pastured animals.

      February 3rd, 2014 2:39 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    How does flax seed (and perhaps other grains/seeds) play in the increase in phytoestrogens in our country? I understand there’s some debate on flax seed and its health benefits, but that it also has very high levels of phytoestrogens. It seems flax seed is growing in commonality in our food, particularly “health foods”, so I’m curious if with the increase in awareness and potential decline in use of soy that there will still be dangers of phytoestrogens in food since flax seed is everywhere now. Granted it’s not being used as abundantly and quietly as soy nor does it have the environmental impact soy has as far as I know, but I still see risks in consuming large amounts of it and other grains/seeds with high levels of phytoestrogens. Flax seed is being touted as a health food, which in our country means it will be used in everything and become a marketing ploy until research is done after the fact that tells us yet again too much of a good thing can be bad.

    June 25th, 2013 11:03 am Reply
  • RosalindaL

    I really wish that intelligent, educated people as yourself would stop dancing around the real culprit and say it!! The main contaminate of our waters is CONTRACEPTIVES! Contraceptives have been proven to affect the fish and frogs in our environment on many levels – studies out of Boulder CO point the finger directly at contraceptives. They are an evil on every level, but the politically correct refuse to say it. Please say it!! It is a class 1 carcinogen according to the CDC. Women are consuming them by the boatload and then passing them into our water. This carcinogen is almost impossible to filter and has ruined our environment, including our own bodies and the bodies of our children. Please speak the truth and stop dancing around the issue. Contraceptives are killing us from the top of the food chain all the way down to the bottom.

    June 25th, 2013 10:55 am Reply
    • Kaayla T. Daniel

      The article clearly states “Tap waters include environmental estrogens from pesticides and other sources as well as residues from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies.”

      June 25th, 2013 11:39 am Reply
      • Faith

        Because, clearly, the best lifestyle choice to make regarding birth control is to filter it out of our tap water, rather than avoid putting it into the water in the first place. Yes. Thank you for pointing out so clearly what we can do to avoid environmental estrogens.

        July 3rd, 2013 2:17 pm Reply
    • Erin

      I didn’t think the birth control link was pointed out as clearly as it should have been either. Nearly all women will be on birth control at some point in their lives. That is a heck of a lot of estrogen getting into the water!! We need to make this loud and clear, along with educating women on the natural, alternative way to get to know their bodies and not put a drug into them to alter their normal functioning! It is good for women and good for the environment!

      June 25th, 2013 2:52 pm Reply
      • Laura

        I totally echo Erin and Rosalinda. That the media, and even pro-health web sites either ignore this issue or gloss over it with a few pithy phrases is tragic, to say the least.

        July 1st, 2013 1:15 pm Reply
  • Carrie

    Maybe this explains the wussification of America.

    June 25th, 2013 8:19 am Reply
    • Bonnie

      You said what you said well….I burst into raucous laughter. Thanks!

      June 25th, 2013 12:00 pm Reply
      • Paula

        Ditto to Carrie–that is hilarious!!

        June 26th, 2013 6:12 am Reply

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