Endocrine disruptors found in SA water

2013-02-21 13:20
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – A 200-page report on Endocrine Disrupting compounds (EDCs) released by the UN earlier this week has highlighted environmental and health risks facing many countries including South Africa.

The compounds have the potential to cause wide ranging health complications including breast cancer in women, prostate cancer, attention deficit and hyperactivity in children, as well as thyroid cancer.

According to Professor Edmund Pool, University of the Western Cape expert on EDCs, sewage treatment plants do not remove all the compounds.

“All the sewage treatment plants I’ve tested in the Western Cape were found to remove 80% of hormones, the untreated 20% has been shown to be able to change the morphology and sex ratios of some animals like fishes, frogs, and crabs,” he told News24.

Pool said EDCs eventually make its way back into the ecosystem when "treated" water is discharged into the sea and rivers. Threats to humans emerge when the compounds enter the food chain through vegetables (and often fish) via irrigation with toxic water.

“EDCs eventually get lodged in humans’ body tissues, more concerning is that it can sit in the reproductive organs where it is carried over to offspring,” Pool said.

Health effects

The UN report, State of Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012, describes EDCs as “...a mixture that alters functions of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny”.

Bettina Genthe, senior researcher in human health aspects of water at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said that thousands of chemicals like pesticides, industrial chemicals, and plasticisers contain endocrine disruptors.

“Even metals like cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury, and aluminium have been shown to have an effect,” she told News24.

No protection for SA citizens

Both Genthe and Pool have highlighted the fact that no South African legislation exists to protect citizens from EDCs.

The only protection is broadly stated in Chapter 2 of South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

The Bill states that “everyone has the right to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation”.

Department of Water Affairs was not available for comment by the time of publication.

- Follow Dane on Twitter
- News24

Read more on:    un  |  water  |  environment  |  pollution
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Cape Town - 14:01 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights
  • Thursday Kuils River - 09:13 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.