Friday, September 11, 2015

Clover is the culprit?

A lot of modern chemicals have mild estrogenic side effects, including some plastics and pesticides.

and of course, estrogens from birth control pills is found in the waste water.

But now MomJones writes that modern horticultural fads might be causing problems: what's the culprit? You might think it's all the chemicals people tend to dump on their lawns. But the study's lead author, Yale researcher Max Lambert, told me that while he and his colleagues tested the suburban water for "a couple of" pesticides, they didn't find any. He said that while lawn chemicals couldn't be ruled out as a cause of the sex changes, the main driver may be endocrine-disrupting chemicals that occur naturally in some plants, known as phyto-estrogens. These compounds turn out to be rare in most forest plants but abundant in common lawn plants like clover (often added to lawn grass mixes) and various ornamental shrubs,
I was aware that sweet clover (plus fungus) turned into coumadin in hay,

but the problem with red clover can be read about here.
Most of the research on the subject has been done in Australia, where the focus has been on subterranean clover.  The types and levels of phytoestrogens in old varieties of subterranean clover can cause severe reproductive disruptions.  Newer varieties that have been selectively bred to have low levels of phytoestrogens cause little or no reproductive disturbance.  We do not grow subterranean clover in the Northeastern United States.  There has been almost no research done on this subject in the U.S.  See:Sheep Infertility from Pasture Legumes (Australia)
Some researchers in the U.K. and Australia have documented impacts of red clover on ewe reproduction.  Other researchers have found no adverse impacts. 
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