I've run across several claims about oral contraceptives ("the pill") and how the residuals that enter municipal water supplies via urination cannot be filtered out and may have detrimental effects on animal and human health. One particular claim is that the ingestion of these trace amounts of chemical in drinking water may contribute to male infertility:

If synthetic estrogen can affect the "maleness" of fish, it such a stretch to think that the rise in male infertility might be caused by the Pill? That synthetic estrogen in our water supply is making human males less male? That a pill that takes a normal female cycle and turns it upside down would also affect male fertility in unexpected ways? Why is that NOT one of the many possible reasons cited by this article?

I wonder how infertile men everywhere would feel if they found out that it was synthetic estrogen in their water supply that might be the cause of their problems. I wonder if that is why scientists and others are dumbfounded by the utter silence on this issue. Could it be that the Pill is, like abortion, a sacred cow that no matter the devastation it wreaks, we would not dare speak a word against it? (SOURCE)

Has the excretion of residual amounts of oral contraceptive compounds into public water supplies and subsequent ingestion by males led to an increase in male infertility?

  • 1
    First you need to ask whether there is an increase in male infertility. However plausible the hypothesis of oestrogen's in the water, the claimed affect requires a real observation of decreasing fertility. See skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/7160/…
    – matt_black
    Dec 27, 2011 at 23:19
  • @matt_black: very good point. Another route, which could bypass this would simply be to ask 1) if oral contraceptive compounds would produce male infertility at some dosage, and 2) if the levels are high enough in drinking water to cross that dosage threshold effect. A "No" to question #1 would also answer this question.
    – Hendy
    Dec 28, 2011 at 1:04
  • Might help in creating an answer, but even if not, the fish aspect seems interesting to me on its own: bluelivingideas.com/2010/04/12/…
    – Suma
    Dec 28, 2011 at 8:55
  • Is there any evidence this is from excreted compounds as opposed to those pills flushed down the toilet with out actually being consumed?
    – Chad
    Dec 28, 2011 at 14:49
  • @chad: great point... I may revise this. I guess the quote I provided doesn't actually specify how the estrogen is getting into the water (dissolved whole pills, or residual excreted amounts)...
    – Hendy
    Dec 28, 2011 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


Not oral contraceptives, but recycled water does have high levels. Fish do fail to breed soya contains oestrogen like chemicals, it's absolutley everywhere, especially in processed food, pot noodles. For the ammount of water though you would have to drink(fish filter it all day long) I should worry about the food. Furthermore, genetically modified soya uses this very chemical as an insect control device, probably through no reproduction of insects. Gm far elevates the levels of oestrogen in soya. The majority of the chemical comes from soya.

My sources are the uk Guardian and other uk papers, the british governments own report. You google "soya oestrogen" and you will see.

If you think Chinese or Japanese eat soy , it is because they process it through fermentation, which is expensive and is why soy sauce is expensive. Most soy is in an unprocessed state. Beans are not a safe food source in my opinion, many poisons therein if not prepared fastidiously. I cile Pythagoras as my evidence.


but it does seem that the increaced oestrogen is most damaging during development.

www.ourinterestingworld.com/health/ shocking-effects-of-soy

but for the actual levels in your drinking water , use common sense of the ammount of water versus the ammount you drink.

I would like some help with direct scientific references, as I'm working off a phone.


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