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Feb 14, 2013
Whether we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, the fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to ignore the roses, teddy bears and big red hearts abound today.
Of course the big elephant in the room on Valentine’s Day is sex — oftentimes the unspoken piece of the puzzle amongst all of those cheesy gifts.
Part of being responsible while sexually active on Valentine’s Day and every day is practicing consent with your partner(s) as well as safe sex. But what about the impact your birth control has on the environment? Not something we always stop to think about.
It’s an important thing to think about and I’m happy to deliver some good news. Any birth control is better than no birth control when you’re looking out for the planet’s health.
You’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that the estrogen-based hormones in birth control make their way into our waterways and in turn cause a host of health issues. While estrogenic compounds are found in waterways, birth control and other forms of hormonal contraception are not major contributors to this issue.
Instead, agricultural and industrial waste are the more likely culprits. The total yearly volume of entrogenic growth hormones given to farm animals is more than five times that of humans’ consumption of oral contraceptives. Estrogen also makes its way into our waterways through the use of common herbicides, like Atrazine and Roundup, as well as common industrial chemicals like BPA, which is commonly found in our plastics.
If you’re interested in using a contraceptive method that’s hormone-free, consider the copper IUD. And if it isn’t a good fit for you, choose another method rather than going without. When it comes to having sex, the greenest thing you can do is use birth control!
While birth control pills aren’t to blame for the presence of the majority of hormones in our environment, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the issue.
Early puberty, infertility, and developmental defects have all been linked to hormone disruption as a result of the estrogenic compounds in our water. Compounding the problem are endocrine system disrupting toxic chemicals in our everyday care products.
So what’s an aspiring green valentine to do? Continue using your birth control method, learn about the link between reproductive health and environmental health and current thinking on greening contraception, and ask your Senator to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which would regulate hormone disrupting chemicals before they end up in our products and harm our health.