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Altering Eden: The Feminization of Nature Hardcover – October 12, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312243960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312243968
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the world population now exceeding six billion, it may seem strange that scientists are worried about threats to human fertility. Yet dramatic decreases in human sperm counts (a 50% decline since the 1940s) and soaring rates of testicular cancer suggest that there is cause for concern. Science journalist Cadbury, here expanding her Emmy-winning Horizon program "Assault on the Male," presents evidence that the widespread use of synthetic chemicals has disrupted our and other animals' natural hormonal systems, in effect flooding them with megadoses of estrogenlike substances that "feminize" males and contribute to breast cancer and myriad other problems. The list of suspect chemicals is alarming: DES, DDT, PCBs, plastics (used in everything from washing machines to dental sealants and food packaging), even birth-control pills. Traces of these substances have been detected in soil, water, wildlife and humans from around the globe, and have been implicated in such conditions as animal hermaphroditism, impaired sperm quality, microphallus, prostate cancer, endometriosis and even impaired intelligence. How researchers began to recognize the problem and piece together its clues is a compelling and frightening story, which Cadbury tells with journalistic verve. Though she admits that a definite causal relationship between chemical exposure and reproductive abnormalities has not yet been proven, she finds the evidence compelling. This is a chilling account of industrialization's adverseAand perhaps irreversibleAeffects. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Will humanity survive the adverse effects of its own creations? Scientists investigating the "feminization of nature" have unraveled complex evidence to reach a frightening conclusion. In the past 50 years, human sperm counts have fallen an estimated 50 percent worldwide, reproductive abnormalities in the males of many species have risen dramatically, and human-made estrogenic chemicals are the most likely culprit. Cadbury, an Emmy Award-winning British journalist who produced a documentary on this issue for British television in the early 1990s, tells this true-life detective story, an account of collaborative efforts among scientists in many disciplines to document the decline in male reproductive health. A highly readable book with a dramatic presentation, this is also a carefully crafted and footnoted history of a scientific debate that has profound implications for current public health and policy. The reader is presented with the views of scientists on both sides of the issue as well as a fascinating account of industry and media response. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ANoemie Maxwell Vassilakis, Seattle Midwifery Sch.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a very important book. It is based on an `Emmy' award winning BBC TV programme. Scientists around the world are finding alarming changes in human reproduction and health. There is strong evidence that sperm counts have fallen dramatically. Testicular, prostate, and breast cancer are on the rise. Different animal species are even showing signs of 'feminization' or 'changing sex,' the males actually producing eggs like females. According to scientific evidence compiled worldwide, the prime suspect in these worrying findings is the increased exposure to chemicals that can mimic the female hormone estrogen and other hormones. Indeed, man-made chemicals like DDT, PCB and other hormone disrupters have become soaked into our environment from their use in countless modern products, from plastics to pesticides. Only now is the full impact of their extensive use coming to light. Believed responsible for genital abnormalities and cancers across a wide range of species, these hormone disrupting chemicals may pose a threat not only to our human potential, but to our very survival. Through extensive interviews with fertility experts and scientists world wide as well as members of the chemical industry, Deborah Cadbury provides a balanced, cogent, compelling argument that propels us toward a disturbing conclusion. In the spirit of Rachel Carson's groundbreaking work, Silent Spring, Cadbury's well researched, even handed analysis of these findings is a startling wake-up call to the far reaching consequences of widespread environmental pollution.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Deborah Cadbury has managed to convey an incredible amount of information in a useful, logical way. Pesticides, toxins, estrogens, and many chemicals used in every day products like food containers are tied to reproductive disorders like endometriosis, uterine cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and infertility. I could not stop reading this book. Many of the points made are so obvious that I have often wondered who is hiding the information form society linking the source of toxins to the health effects. Why is it that government and industry value money over human life? I assume that most people are too ignorant or complacent to act to protect their health by not driving cars (or limiting use), eating organic foods, demanding more wildlife areas, conserving energy and using renewable sources instead of building more power plants, and being informed as to health risks and causes. The only thing I would have liked to see in this book is detailed resource information. Specifically, what companies use these chemicals, where they are known to be in the environment and at what levels, cancer rates by area, etc. - where do we go to get this information.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Guy Denutte on February 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Chemical concerns launched big loads of synthetic molecules in the environment - pesticides, PCB, etc. - that have two proven actions on animals : (a) they are carcinogenic and (b) they act as chemical messengers in our bodies, similar to oestrogen. The latter part is examined in this important book. Deborah Cadbury calls our attention to the fact that naturally produced oestrogen has a natural cycle of only some hours, whereas artificial oestrogen builds up in the fat deposits of animals. This leads to what she calls the "feminization of nature", illustrated by a lot of evidence of deformed sex organs (mostly smaller penises) in fishes and mammals. Hermaphrodites are also on the rise.

This has the same consequences in mankind. Nowadays, a living father produces more sperm and of better quality than his own son. Dr. Stewart Irvine of the Medical Research Centre in Edinburgh observes a sharp decrease in sperm count over the last 50 years. A man born in the '50s a produces about 100 million sperm per ml. A man born in the 70's produces about 75 million sperm per ml. A man born in the 90's produces about 50 million sperm per ml. If this trend continues, problems with fertility will soon occur, since the minimum limit used in a fertility centre is about 20 million sperm per ml.

The feminization of nature not only affects the sex organs of the animals around us. Our own grandfathers had a penis that was 2 cm longer ! And girls have their first menstruation at an average age of 12, whereas this average age for our grandmothers was 17.

If you want to do something about it, read David Steinman "Diet for a poisoned world", to prevent the intake of all those pesticides in your food. He also proposes a therapy to detoxify your body.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Kennedy on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And it was written in the 20th.
I have been telling people about this book for years - doctors, psychologists, people who work with gay and transgendered people.

The changes in human endocrine/reproductive systems, and our consequent responses to love and pleasure, are profoundly affected by the estrogen-mimicking chemicals in our environment.

In GAIA theory, the earth is a living organism making changes necessary for survival and the highest good of all. In this regard, the learning of sex for pleasure and unity and expression of love without involving unconscious reproduction might be a survival response of earth to human consciousness and behavior. At any rate, it is here and our understanding is required. Instead, we punish and condemn, fearing the changes we ourselves bring about. Those who punish and condemn are the very ones who deny science in favor of patriarchal, punitive religion and patriarchal survival morality (two sexes only: one womb/passive the other creative/aggressive and never the twain shall meet; confusion is ungodly and threatening.) There is enough suffering without us imposing it on one another. This book describes very well how we are making ourselves change in body and psyche. How liberating if we would take control, consciously, of how we want things to be for the human race. It must begin with honoring all humans, and serving one another's needs, and calling our varied desires to love, not harm, holy. Then, let's look at the science of reproductive hormones and see what is happening and how it helps us nurture successive generations for survival and coexistence and joy!
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