[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ PBS Frontline does Endocrine Disruptors on June 2



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

This item was recirculated from an item originally distributed by 
David Baltz.

The Frontline crew doing this story had some interest in campaign
contributions from Michigan industrial entities.   Note also Jim Ludwig's
mention on his Great Lakes research on endocrine disruption.

This will undoubtedly be of interest to those on DIOXIN-L   and 
on the Enviro-Mich lists......

===================================

A very important program will soon screen on public television, the
FRONTLINE PBS television documentary, FOOLING WITH NATURE. The program
concerns environmental toxins which have been found to be endocrine
disrupting chemicals. The show will air:

Date:   Tuesday, June 2
Time:   9:00pm
Channel: check your local listings.

Please take the time to view this important program.


--------------PBS PRESS RELEASE----------------------

FOOLING WITH NATURE
PBS airdate: Tuesday, June 2, 9 P.M., 60 minutes

In recent years, lower IQ, reduced fertility, genital deformities, and
abnormalities within the immune system have all been suspected of being
linked to synthetic chemicals in the environment.  Scientists have found
growing evidence that these chemicals, stored in our bodies, could
threaten human health.  "You are now carrying at least 500 measurable
chemicals in your body," says World Wildlife Fund scientist Theo
Colborn.  "They were never in anyone's body before the 1920s."

In "Fooling with Nature," airing Tuesday, June 2, at 9 p.m., on PBS,
FRONTLINE and the Center for Investigative Reporting explore an alarming
new theory being debated within the scientific community that challenges
governments and the multibillion dollar chemical industry.  The program
includes interviews with scientists, politicians, activists, and
business officials, finding a variety of reactions to this theory.  The
theory, known as "the endocrine disruption hypothesis," was made
prominent by the 1996 publication of Our Stolen Future, co-authored by
Colborn.

"Reaction to Theo Colborn's book was amazing," former industry insider
Dawn Forsythe tells FRONTLINE.  Forsythe believes that endocrine
disruption has shaken chemical industry executives more than any event
since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.  "Everything is
at stake for the industry on this one," she claims.  "It was a day of
reckoning that they didn't want to see, and everything depends on what
they find out."

The day of reckoning for the chemical industry may soon arrive.  In a
controversial move, applauded by many proponents of the endocrine
disruption hypothesis and prompted by an alliance between Senator
Alfonse D'Amato and Long Island breast cancer activists, Congress took
action.  Despite the uncertain health threat, it mandated that the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency develop a battery of screens and tests
to detect endocrine disrupting chemicals by August 1998.  Over 75,000
manmade chemicals, some of which have never been tested for safety, will
be put through these screens.

"This is the first time since the passage of the Toxic Substances
Control Act more than twenty years ago that Congress has spoken on the
issue of testing of chemicals," says Lynn Goldman, assistant
administrator of the EPA Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic
Substances.  Goldman calls it a "fundamental change to the kind of
legislation we've had in the past."

Not all scientists agree that humans are in danger.  Toxicologist
Stephen Safe has dubbed the endocrine disruption hypothesis "paparazzi
science" in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and wrote an
editorial for the Wall Street Journal entitled "Another Enviro-Scare
Debunked."

"Fooling with Nature" brings Safe to Florida to discuss the importance
and relevance of animal research to human health with scientist Lou
Guillette, a leading proponent of the hypothesis.  Guillette found that
male alligators born in contaminated lakes have abnormally small
phalluses and strikingly low levels of the male sex hormone
testosterone.

"Let's not look at alligators," Safe says. "We've got human data...I
wouldn't say there's not a problem, but I think the evidence does not
show a parallel between what's happening to the alligators [in this]
contaminated lake and humans."  FRONTLINE explores Safe's criticisms of
the endocrine disruption hypothesis and the weakness in the human data,
as well as the controversy over Safe's research funding from the
chemical industry.

"There has been so much hype about endocrine disruption that it makes it
difficult to carry on reasonable scientific discourse on the topic,"
says Linda Birnbaum, associate director for health at the EPA's labs in
North Carolina.  "With endocrine disruption, not only will different
scientists interpret the same evidence differently, they will campaign
for their point of view in the public arena," says producer Doug
Hamilton.

Great Lakes scientist Jim Ludwig disagrees with Safe.  "We don't have to
prove the general case that endocrine disruption is a health threat," he
says.  "DES did that for us absolutely clearly, cleanly, no questions
asked. That was a really nasty experience."  The synthetic hormone
diethylstilbestrol (DES), prescribed to pregnant women from the 1940s to
the 1970s, caused severe reproductive abnormalities in their exposed
infants.

Some scientists speculate that there is indeed "another DES" wreaking
havoc in our environment.  Hormone-related diseases like breast cancer,
prostate cancer, and testicular cancer are on the rise.  Controversial
reports of a fifty percent drop in human sperm counts have grabbed
headlines worldwide, and a condition called hypospadias (a malformation
of the penis) appears to be increasing in baby boys.

Of great concern are potential effects on the brain.  "Fooling with
Nature" explores the research of Joe and Sandra Jacobson, who found a
permanent IQ deficit of up to six points in children exposed to
environmental pollutants through their mothers' diet of fish from the
Great Lakes, although they cannot say if endocrine disruption is the
cause.  But the threat remains.

"Once the potential, the IQ potential, is shaved off a child, you can't
put it back in," says Ludwig. "That's the key to this.  That's why
endocrine disruption is so important to understand."

"Fooling with Nature" is a co-production of FRONTLINE and the Center for
Investigative Reporting.  The film is produced by Doug Hamilton and is
directed and edited by Michael Chandler.  The executive producer for the
Center for Investigative Reporting is Dan Noyes.  Sharon Tiller is the
senior producer for FRONTLINE.

FRONTLINE is produced by a consortium of public television stations:
WGBH Boston, WTVS Detroit, WPBT Miami, WNET New York, KCTS Seattle.

Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers.
Additional funding for "Fooling with Nature" is provided by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Deer Creek Foundation, the Fred
Gellert Family Foundation, the Streisand Foundation, and the Wallace
Genetic Foundation.

Access FRONTLINE ONLINE at www.pbs.org/frontline for :
o       special reports on breast cancer and the chemical link;
chemicals in the environment; how hormones work;
o       an "Animal Gallery" with pictures and summaries of what's known
about endocrine disruption in certain species;
o       the debate concerning the threat to humans;
o       an endocrine disruption quiz;
o       "pros and cons" on the controversy over industry-funded studies;
o       readings on the theory of endocrine disruption;
o       more of FRONTLINE's interviews with scientists and policymakers.

Press contacts:
Jim Bracciale [jim-bracciale@wgbh.org]
Rick Byrne [rick_byrne@wgbh.org]
Chris Kelly [chris_kelly@wgbh.org]

Press and PBS station inquiries:        (617) 783-3500
Viewer comments and inquiries:          (617) 492-2777 X5355


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!!!            ajs@sagady.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  ajs@sagady.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)



==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================