Friday, September 16, 2011

Dr. Greger: "Eating Chicken May Lead To A Smaller Penis"

Oh, Dr. Greger isn't going to make friends with poultry producers, or people who like KFC:

Eating Chicken May Lead To A Smaller Penis

I thought he was kidding until I read it. He's entirely serious.
"Researchers measured the levels of phthalates flowing through the bodies of pregnant women, and then later measured the size and characteristics of their infant sons’ genitalia between ages 2 months to 3 years. The women who had the most phthalate exposure had up to 10 times the odds of giving birth to sons with one or both testicles incompletely descended, their scrotum categorized as small and/or “not distinct from surrounding tissue,” and a significantly smaller penile volume, a measure of penis size taking into account both length and girth. In other words, the more phthalates pregnant women are exposed to, the “increased likelihood of testicular maldescent, a small and indistinct scrotum, and smaller penis size.” "
As to which foods contain the most phthalates, he cites this study:

Dietary Intake Is Associated With Phthalate Body Burden In A Nationally Representative Sample, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2010

Which says:
"In the current study, creatinine ­adjusted levels of MEHP (a metabolite of DEHP) were significantly associated with poultry consumption; total meat, poultry, and fish consumption; and discretionary solid fat consumption in multivariate regression models."
I see that vegetables were a significant source for the lower molecular weight phthalates, which they say are more water soluble than heavier weight. I don't know the implication of that.
"The results from this study, combined with results from previous studies, suggest that the food supply is contaminated with phthalates, among other chemicals."

The photo is one of mine ... from days gone by.


Dr. Mel said...

LOLOLOLOL!!!! Must be why they call male chickens cocks; it's a warning! Must repost on FB w/ credit to your blog, Bix.

Bix said...

He sure did get attention with that title.

He has a good discussion going on on his blog.

Dr. Mel said...

No one can believe it on my FB.

Bix said...

Here's the study that found "incomplete virilization" in boys born to mothers with high levels of phthalate metabolites in their urine:

Decrease in Anogenital Distance among Male Infants with Prenatal Phthalate Exposure

It said:

"These changes in male infants, associated with prenatal exposure to some of the same phthalate metabolites that cause similar alterations in male rodents, suggest that commonly used phthalates may undervirilize humans as well as rodents."

"These data support the hypothesis that prenatal phthalate exposure at environmental levels can adversely affect male reproductive development in humans."

10 times the odds is a lot. and the range went up to over 40 times!

I guess the link with chicken is that fat soluble endocrine disruptors bioaccumulate in the fatty tissue of livestock. Meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs seem to be good sources for these fat soluble chemicals.

Dr. Mel said...

Folks on my FB page seem to think that if you eat organic chicken, this won't happen. I'm not sure that's true--what do you think, Bix?

Bix said...

Somebody asked the same question to Dr. Greger. Here's his reply:

"... if it is something in the feed, that might indeed make a difference. Unfortunately the researchers lumped conventional chicken and organic poultry together so we can’t differentiate the two. I’ll make sure to update everyone if there is follow-up work done in this area."

Bix said...

Phthalates are used in plastics. So, it isn't an issue of pesticides (which might make organic chicken safer). How feed is handled and packaged may be similar between organic and not. Also, the pens where chickens are kept and the containers from which they eat and drink may be sources for both. The processing of birds may be sources for both. The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking organic chicken may not be that much different ... at least in terms of phthaltes.

Ben P. DaSalt said...

“Phthalates are used in plastics. So, it isn't an issue of pesticides…”

I’m not so sure that phthalates are exclusive to plastics and aren’t used in some form in pesticides.

Phthalates are a broad category of compounds:
(Yeah, Wikipedia, sue me.)

If you made it through that list the important hits concerning livestock were: pharmaceutical pills coating, nutritional supplements coating, stabilizers, dispersants, emulsifying agents, suspending agents, pharmaceuticals, cleaning materials, and finally, at the end… pesticides.

Here’s quick link to shore up the Wikipedia claim:
“Many of the early attempts at creating synthetic insect repellents were initiated by the United States military. Out of this research came the discovery of the repellent dimethyl phthalate in 1929.”

Okay, one more from the EPA:
“Dimethyl phthalate has many uses, including in solid rocket propellants, plastics, and insect repellants.”

Dimethyl phthalate is a just specific phthalate used in pesticides, there are others.

Also, many people are still under the false impression that organic mean no pesticides. Pesticides are used, but the question of phthalates content is still up for debate, since organic doesn’t use synthetic pesticides that may be where phthalates are prevalent.

Finally, phthalates can be in synthetic fertilizers and most definitely in bio-solids.