by Marjorie Fisher, Illinois Delegate to the Lake Michigan Inter-League Group of the League of Women Voters
In our concern about "breaking the cycle of violence," we must not overlook the neurotoxic and hormonal effects of many of the manmade chemicals that we are spewing into our environment. For example, "a very large proportion of all the pesticides used today are neurotoxic." ( Journal of Pesticide Reform, 6(2): 6, Summer 1986)
In experimenting with rats, Professor Warren Porter, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that tiny doses of combinations of pesticides, at levels that can be found in Wisconsin drinking water today, can cause both aggression and learning problems in the animals. "Can you imagine any parents exposing their children to a toxic chemical?," asks Professor Porter. "And yet they do it all the time [by pesticiding their homes and gardens, eating pesticided food, and permitting pesticiding in their children’s schools and on their playgrounds]. The telling comparison is that we protect laboratory rats better from this stuff than we do our kids." Furthermore, he says
"We will not be able to maintain a highly-ordered technological society if we raise a generation of children who are learning disabled and hyper aggressive."
Many synthetic chemicals disrupt our hormones. Tiny doses can have devastating effects on the fetus, lasting a lifetime. Although the genetic makeup of the individual can remain unchanged, the affected hormones control which genes will actually be expressed and in what way. Concerning these effects of manmade chemicals, the authors of Our Stolen Future (Theo Colborn, PhD, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers, PhD; Dutton, 1996) write: "Wildlife data, laboratory experiments, the DES [a synthetic estrogen] experience, and a handful of human studies support the possibility of physical, mental, and behavioral disruption in humans that could affect fertility, learning ability, aggression, and conceivably even parenting and mating behavior.
"To what extent have scrambled [hormone] messages contributed to what we see happening around us:
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