Sex and Sewage

People have had an impact on the planet for millennia but the increase in man-made chemicals entering the environment in recent decades has brought their potential impact on our health into sharper focus.

The possible effects of these chemicals, especially on our fertility, will be the topic of the first in the new series of the University of Aberdeen’s popular Café Scientifique talks which takes place tomorrow (June 13) at Waterstones Union Bridge branch starting at 7pm.

Professor Paul Fowler, University of Aberdeen, and Dr Stewart Rhind, James Hutton Institute, will discuss their latest research and give an insight into how these chemicals might interfere with human health and possibly create a multitude of problems for our species.

Dr Rhind, of the James Hutton Institute, said: “Most of us would say that all of these new chemicals and products have improved our lifestyles because many have been created for a range of uses such as insecticides, plastics, cleaning agents and waterproofing chemicals.

“However, in recent years, it has become apparent that there may be a previously-unrecognised price to be paid.

Professor Fowler, Chair of Translational Medical Sciences, of the University of Aberdeen, added: “It has become clear that many of these man-made chemicals have been found to have the capacity to interfere with the normal actions of hormones in the body, and can have adverse effects on animal and human health and fertility. The young appear to be particularly vulnerable.”

“These chemicals have been implicated in problems as diverse as infertility, cancer, heart disease and behavioural problems in humans, and in the decline in numbers of animals of species as diverse as birds of prey, marine snails and the honey bee, and we’re only just beginning to learn about them.”

Café Scientifique talks – organised by the University of Aberdeen Public Engagement with Research team - aim to provide a public forum for the discussion of highly topical issues in science.

All these talks are free and no booking is required - just turn up. The guest speaker will begin the evening with a short presentation, followed by a break, with the chance to get refreshments.

The Café Scientifique series is supported by a science engagement grant from the Scottish Government.

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