Pesticides May Affect Penis Size

It is hard to imagine a headline more apt than “Pesticides May Affect Penis Size” to capture a reader’s attention. It appears on a London Free Press piece highlighted at Memeorandum.

A renowned U.S. scientist who has documented fertility and sex changes — including decreasing penis size — due to environmental contamination says he wouldn’t apply pesticides on his own lawn. Delivering a special series of lectures this week at the University of Western Ontario, Louis Guillette has been drawn into London’s lawn-care debate during question periods and talk-show interviews. “The use of these compounds just for cosmetic reasons, just because you don’t want to make dandelion wine from your yard or whatever, I think is inappropriate,” Guillette, who is associate dean for research at the University of Florida, said in a lecture yesterday at UWO’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.


A zoologist, Guillette has spent the last decade studying the influence of environmental contaminants on fetal development and reproductive systems of wildlife and humans, including the differences between alligators living in contaminated Florida lakes and those in cleaner ones. He found abnormalities in sex organs, dramatic differences in egg-hatching rates and hormone levels. Penis size of the animals from the polluted lake was smaller than animals from the less-polluted lake.

“This is important because it is not just an alligator story. It is not just a lake story. We know there has been a dramatic increase in penile and genital abnormalities in baby boys,” Guillette said. A followup study by another scientist involving healthy couples with 5,000 healthy babies also found reduced penis size with higher contamination levels. “Are (their penises) so small they are actually having problems? We don’t know. These are baby boys,” he said.

I’m not sure how Guillette’s study comports with those of other scientists–or whether there’s anyone else out there keeping track of the penis sizes of rodents and alligators–but he’s definitely found a brilliant marketing strategy for defeating the pesticide industry.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.