Guest post by Joel Brind, Ph.D.
Then there was the elimination of trans-fat. Well, okay, there’s some evidence that’s bad for you, and no one could taste the difference if a food has any in it or not.
Then we started getting a bit more troubled: We don’t get to choose how much salt content or the volume of a soft drink we can buy? But we still managed to chuckle a bit at the new restrictions on bottle-feeding infants in hospitals. At least we all know it is better for babies to be breast fed. So we could still be amused at our “Nanny Bloomberg,” for we could be sure of at least one thing: All those things he has mandated are beneficial to human health.
But now our nanny mayor wants to give our school children – orally and by injection, without parental knowledge or consent – cancer-causing steroid drugs.
Say what!? You read that right: cancer-causing steroid drugs. You thought “the pill” was harmless, right? Just a little bit of harmless hormones, to stem the tide of costly, unhealthy teen pregnancy. Sorry, “hormonal contraceptives” are indeed cancer-causing steroid drugs. Who says so? Why, the World Health Organization says so, but why pay any attention to them? They’re only class 1 carcinogens for breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer, according to the WHO.
And the reason I put “hormonal contraceptives” in quotes is that it is not true. The pill contains no hormones – artificial or otherwise. They are steroid drugs that act like hormones (hormone agonists, to be professionally precise). In fact, hormones would not work as a pill, so they have to be synthetic drugs. In fact, they are really the same type of steroid drugs that professional athletes can go to jail for taking. They are just the female version (which makes the breasts grow), rather than the male version (which makes muscles grow).
If you read the small print on the package insert for “the pill,” you will find increased risk of stroke, because these steroids can cause blood clots. But cancer? How long have researchers known that? Not too long. The first high-profile, peer-reviewed paper that documented the increased risk of breast cancer was just published in 1987, only a quarter-century ago. Of course there have been scores of papers since then.
But what about the more modern injectable form, the “depo” that is also included in the Mayor’s plan for NYC schoolgirls? Isn’t that safer, since it contains no estrogenic drugs?
Yeah, they are newer, and it takes years for stuff to cause cancer. So the first good study in the peer-reviewed medical literature just came out a few months back. A prominent, National Cancer Institute-funded group just published their findings: Yes indeed, “depo” significantly increases the risk of breast cancer…
I think Mayor Bloomberg should certainly have known about all this. But even if all his politically correct wizards of smart conveniently ignored the cancer risks of contraceptive steroids, he could have just called me. After all, I’ve been a full-time professor on the faculty of Hizzoner’s own City University of New York, teaching human biology and endocrinology for almost 27 years now (and researching steroid hormones and drugs for more than 30 years).
Seriously Mr. Mayor, if you really want our city’s citizens to be healthier – not sicker – please, call me!
Readers are encouraged to forward this post to the mayor’s office. Just maybe it will wake him up. Here’s the link to his contact page.