Are Boys an Endangered Species?
Half as many boys as girls are being born in some places around the world—and pollution is the prime suspect.
Among the Chippewas of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community living on the shores of the St. Clair River outside Sarnia, Ontario, tribal leaders were puzzling over a variety of health problems—from asthma to cancer to miscarriages—plaguing their families. The Aamjiwnaang—the name means “at the spawning stream”—were shaken when they realized that there was a dramatic disproportion of girls to boys among them....
One of those worried is Devra Davis, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s Center for Environmental Oncology and professor of epidemiology at the university’s Graduate School of Public Health. Davis is the lead author of a June 2007 article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that found statistically significant reductions in male births and increased fetal deaths in Japan and among Caucasians in the United States since 1970. She and her co-authors note that this decline represents 135,000 fewer white males in the U.S. and 127,000 fewer males in Japan stretching over the past three decades than the normative rate would expect.
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