Double Documentary Weekend, Part 1: The Disappearing Male

>> Thursday, September 24, 2009

For some reason, I was in a documentary watching mood this weekend. Maybe it's because No Impact Man and The Age of Stupid both came out but aren't playing anywhere near me, so I felt like I needed some sort of green documentary fix anyway I could get it. Or maybe it's just that I was feeling really lazy this weekend but couldn't watch TV because hubby had dibs (football). Either way, I watched two very interesting documentaries this weekend, and I wanted to share.

Documentary #1: The Disappearing Male

EcoYogini wrote about this CBC documentary last week, and her description had me intrigued.

The Disappearing Male examines the effect of our widespread chemical use on boys - particularly hormone-mimicking and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. According to the video, boys today are more likely to have low sperm count, genital deformities, and testicular cancer than previous generations of males. Plus, the number of male births worldwide has decreased over the past few decades by millions, and the World Health Organization has drastically lowered the level at which a male is deemed infertile due to low sperm count (because they couldn't go around declaring that half the male population is infertile).

My husband joined me for the last ten or fifteen minutes of this documentary, and when it finished, I turned to him and said, "Watching this kind of thing makes me feel completely hopeless."

I absolutely believe we are manufacturing and using chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. But they are everywhere - not just in the products we make, but in the air we breath and the water we drink. Avoiding them is impossible, so it feels almost like a pointless battle. Like when people switch to a stainless steel water bottle to avoid the BPA in plastic water bottles. Probably a good choice.

But did you know that due to all of the birth control pills we're popping these days, you're probably drinking estrogen in your tap water? Did you know that your wall-to-wall carpet is glued down with toxic glue, your mattress might be coated with a toxic flame retardant, that new car smell is actually the scent of toxicity from your vinyl seats, and your nonstick pans are adding a toxic seasoning to your foods? Did you know that due to the offgassing of all the stuff we fill our homes with, there's likely more air pollution inside your home than outside?

It feels like people have latched onto this small handful of chemicals - BPA, pthalates, parabens, etc. - when weeding out those few chemicals is going to make so little difference. We need an entire system overhaul!

Anyway, small rant aside...even though this documentary made me feel hopeless, it was an intriguing look at this subject. If you haven't heard much about the harmful effects of these chemicals on boys, if you've heard a little but weren't convinced, or especially if you have sons, you'll want to set aside 45 minutes and take a look.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the other documentary: God Grew Tired of Us.

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Eco Yogini September 25, 2009 at 2:08 PM  

ohhhh. I'm glad you thought it was interesting- as I did too- but I can very much relate to the feelings of hopelessness at the end.
In the same breath, I felt it reinforced why what we (as greenies) do is so important... and for all those "what's the big deal, there's not THAT much evidence parabens are so bad for you" people, this doc reminded me that yes. This eco-path I have taken, spreading the word to other readers, who are also voters... and together we can make a difference.

the ocean is made of tiny drops... after all :) (ps- your explanation is WAY better than mine for the doc! lol).

Erin aka Conscious Shopper September 25, 2009 at 9:34 PM  

@Eco Yogini - I don't agree - yours was better. Especially the part at the end where you offered suggestions for what to do. :)

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