Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Canary Died 20 Minutes Ago

Do you know the expression "canary in a coal mine?" Miners used to use canaries to warn them when dangerous gases were building up in the mines. Canaries are sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, and will die at lower levels than it would take to kill a human. If the canary stopped singing (i.e. if it died), it was time to get out of the coal mine, a.s.a.p.

Scientists have been saying for years that certain animals are starting to exhibit "intersex characteristics" in far greater numbers than should be found naturally. Intersex means that the animals exhibit characteristics of both male and female genders. In a common example, a male fish will be found with immature eggs in their testes. Intersex is thought to be caused by endocrine disruptors, chemicals which interfere with the hormonal system. Some species seem to be more vulnerable than others, and some locales seem to be more affected than others. A well-known problem area is the Potomac River, near Washington DC, where a recent survey found 80% of fish exhibiting intersex characteristics. 80%, people. In another study, all the fish, whether intersex or not, were found to be contaminated with at least one endocrine disruptor, of the type typically found in personal care products such as antimicrobial products and artificial fragrances.

Studies have been published, articles have been written, yet the flow of chemicals into our waterways (and our bodies) continues unabated. The Potomac Conservancy is trying to get people to pay attention. They've launched a campaign called FishMystery. You can sign a petition calling for more attention to and investment in this problem. You can read about ways to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruption. You can read studies and press releases. But they really shouldn't call it a mystery. It's incredibly obvious where the chemicals are coming from, and what the implications are going to be if we don't get the hell out of the mine.

FishMystery website

Article in The Guardian re intersex fish

A related post I wrote a year ago

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Group (NYC): Genital Herpes Is Not My Identity

My friend/colleague Melissa King is starting up a new meetup group for women with HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus). Women whose partners have herpes are also welcome to participate. Info from the website:

"This is not just a process group for women in the New York City area to work through the challenges presented by genital herpes infection, it is also a space for women affected by herpes to get their mind off of the infection and connect with other women on the everyday issues that we all deal with - dating, relationships, dreams about the future, health, and career... In this group I am combining the work I do in my single women's groups with the work I do with women who have herpes. We will sort through the facts about herpes and you will have an opportunity to get updated and accurate information about herpes. We will discuss body image, relationships, social stigmas and how all of these things uniquely affect you.

But we won't stop there. Genital herpes is only one part of your life. I have been hosting women's groups for a number of years and all women deal with challenges to their self-esteem, frustrations and disappointments in the dating world, questions about their career path, and joy in their achievements. This group will offer a structured environment with weekly topics that will provide you an opportunity to discuss these issues, process and solve the problems related, and find inspiration and motivation to move forward. Most importantly, you will be able to connect and share with other women in a safe space where you can also discuss your concerns about genital herpes."

Melissa is a fabulous facilitator and a certified holistic health counselor who has many years of experience helping women discover what is important to them, what makes them happy, and how to create positive change in their lives.

The first meeting will take place this Wed, 4/14. Women who are interested in participating but cannot attend this meeting should contact Melissa so they can have some say in when the group will meet in future. Monthly participation fee will be $75, and your first meeting is free, regardless of whether it's this Wed or at a future date.  Read all about it here: