Why Mark Driscoll Should Be Campaigning Against Phthalates.

So, I have a new (ish) review up at Books & Culture on Florence Williams’ new book, Breasts. I think it’s kind of funny. Here’s a sample. Click through to read the rest at B&C…

“The primary biological function of breasts,” wrote humorist Dave Barry, “is to make males stupid.”

Well, not exactly, though, in fact, some studies have suggested just that. In Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, environmental journalist Florence Williams takes the reader on a journey that’s “part biology, part anthropology, part medical journalism.” Along the way, Williams explores little-discussed aspects of the fascinating organs that are unique to mammals, giving our taxonomic class its name (“breasts are us” Williams quips), yet being in their relative permanence unique to humans. (In other mammalian species, breasts show up at the end of pregnancy and hang around, so to speak, only until weaning is completed. We’re the only ones who get to keep them from puberty onward.)

Unexpectedly, a major concern of the book is environmental: breasts, it seems, are highly sensitive, acting a little like antennae by absorbing not only information from their environment but chemicals, too: the mammary gland is “the most sensitive organ to known harmful industrial chemicals.” Substances like BPA—which appears in the lining of food cans and in most polycarbonate (#7) plastics—activate the estrogen receptors on breast cells, causing all kinds of problems, including increased rates of breast cancer and a lowering of the age of puberty. Fifty percent of girls in the U.S. now have breasts—or the beginnings thereof—by age ten, a phenomenon that’s pretty unusual in the long view of human history and that’s socially problematic: our daughters are reaching physical puberty well before they reach emotional and cognitive maturity.

(Boys and men are not off the hook either; phthalates and BPA function not only as estrogen-copycats but as anti-androgens, and have been linked to smaller penises, lower sperm counts, and other physical markers of feminization in boys. Is Mark Driscoll about to get on the BPA-banning bandwagon? We can only hope.)

{read the rest at the Books and Culture website: here}

Hmm. Maybe Douglas Wilson should give some thought to phthalates, too…

 

 

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