Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Diethylstilbestrol (DES)’ Category

Today’s important history and science lesson is on Diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first synthetic hormone technology created from petroleum on the branch of the eythlene tree that was marketed and put in widespread use. (I’ll cover other benzene/phenol-based hormone technology markets next)

The Devil’s Chemists: 24 Conspirators of the International Farben Cartel Who Manufacture War by Josiah E. DuBose (Prosecutor of IG Farben Directors at the Nuremberg Trials) explains the ethylene tree during the testimony of Otto Ambros who was IG Farben’s Director of Chemical Operations and Hitler’s Director of Chemical Weapons.

“Ambros bowed as he took oath, exhibiting his sketch in all directions. He waved his counsel aside for the moment. He explained: “This tree of many branches I choose to call the Ethylene Tree to symbolize the Good and Evil in nature.”

Ethylene oxide, he went on, was the trunk which bore many branches “green with peaceful uses” and a few that were rotten with potential destruction. He pointed to lines he had drawn to cut off the rotten branches. Green branches had been his sole interest: soap for dirty soldiers, paint and cleaning agents for vehicles. “I still do not understand why I am here. The collapse promised everything but that I would be arrested.”

At Gerdorf, after those senseless investigations, the Americans had been kind enough to lend him a jeep and driver, to take him back home. Surely, if he had deserved arrest, the French at Ludwigshafen would have picked him up. He’d lived in Ludwigshafen since the mid-1920’s; people there thought he was just born for the place. If Heidelberg was the seat of chemical knowledge, Ludwigshafen was nature’s laboratory; and Ambros was the sort of man who liked earth running through his fingers. At Ludwigshafen, more productive than any other single Farben installation, were planted the synthetic seeds of every Farben product. Ludwigshafen put out the elementary compounds that became hormones and vitamins under Hoerlein at Elberfeld. At Ludwigshafen, the organic roots under careful cultivation grew their first ersatz offshoots. His “mother” was Ludwigshafen, said Ambros; but he owed a good deal, too, to his real father, a professor of agricultural chemistry, who had taken him into the laboratory before he could toddle. It was understandable that, at first sight of Oswiecem, he noted it was “predominantly agricultural terrain.”
When Bosch and Krauch hired Ambros, they got a young man with brains as well as feet in the soil. Bosch, recognizing a young excitable genius, turned him loose to study natural dyes and rosins and yeast breeding and sugar fermentation. Soon the Ethylene Tree was bearing synthetic twigs based on his studies.” – page 170

(Important to note that the “A” in Sarin stands for Ambros and he fails to explain the chemical weapon or “evil” branches of this synthetic tree to the court. The tree is not evil, simply biochemically toxic to biological systems from their fossil fuel or ancient dead rooted origins.)

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Information
In 1938, DES (diethylstilbestrol) was the first synthetic estrogen to be created. For a historical perspective see the DES Timeline. (The Timeline follows)

Never patented, DES was marketed using hundreds of brand names in the mistaken belief it prevented miscarriages and premature deliveries.
DES was prescribed primarily between 1938 and 1971 (but not limited to those years). It was considered the standard of care for problem pregnancies from the late 1940s well into the 1960s in the U.S. and was widely prescribed during that time. DES was sometimes even included in prenatal vitamins so there are many individuals who were not actually given DES but were exposed to it anyway. DES was given by injection, pill and vaginal suppository (sometimes called pessaries).

In April 1971 the FDA told doctors to stop using DES for their pregnant patients, however it was never banned. Specifically, the FDA said DES was contraindicated for pregnancy use. In some rare cases American doctors either didn’t hear of, or simply ignored the message and continued prescribing DES. Internationally, DES use during pregnancy continued for many subsequent years.

In the United States, an estimated 5–10 million people were exposed to DES, including women who were prescribed DES while pregnant, and the children born of those pregnancies.

Now researchers are investigating whether DES health issues are extending into the next generation, the so-called DES Grandchildren. As study results come in, there is growing evidence that this group has been adversely impacted by a drug prescribed to their grandmothers.
Interestingly, years after developing the chemical formulation for DES, its creator, Sir E. Charles Dodds was knighted for his accomplishment. It was fully expected that his synthetic estrogen would help women worldwide. At the time it was not known how dangerous this drug would be to developing fetuses.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Timeline
1938 – DES is created as first synthetic estrogen by Sir E. Charles Dodds in England.
1940 – French medical journal reports that DES caused mammary tumors in male mice.
1947 – DES formally granted FDA approval for use as a miscarriage preventative.
Harvard husband and wife team of physician and biochemist George and Olive Smith publish report extolling use of high doses of DES during pregnancy. This report launches wide-scale use of DES.
1953 – DES proven ineffective when William Dieckmann, M.D., of University of Chicago’s Lying-In Hospital conducts first controlled, randomized, double-blind study on use of DES during pregnancy. Published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the research reveals women receiving DES suffered a higher rate of miscarriages, yet DES continued to be prescribed to women until 1971. (Pharmaceutical companies heavily promoted DES use to doctors.)
1959 – U.S. Agriculture Department bans DES as a growth stimulant for chickens and lambs after high DES levels in these animals produced side effects, such as male breast growth in humans.
1971 – Arthur Herbst, M.D. et al publish report in New England Journal of Medicine linking DES exposure before birth, to a rare vaginal cancer in girls and young women – clear cell adenocarcinoma.
On the basis of this study the FDA issues a Drug Bulletin to physicians, stating that DES is contra-indicated for use in pregnant women. The FDA did not ban DES, but only urged doctors to stop prescribing it for their pregnant patients. Most, but not all, stopped.
1970s – Researchers study the effects of DES on DES Daughters and find significant abnormalities in the reproductive organs of these women, which often result in infertility or serious problems in pregnancy.
1975 – National Cancer Institute (NCI) begins DES-Adenosis (DESAD) project, the first government-sponsored study designed to “assess the magnitude and severity of the health hazard to DES-exposed female offspring.”
1978 – DES Action is founded as the national non-profit consumer group for people exposed to DES.
Secretary of the Department of Health, Education & Welfare, Joseph Califano, convenes the National DES Task Force. It was charged with reviewing all aspects of the DES problem and with making recommendations for research and health care of the exposed.
The National DES Task Force issues physician advisory, recommending doctors review their records and notify patients who were prescribed DES while pregnant. (Most doctors, however, did not).
1979 – First successful legal trial over DES injuries. Joyce Bichler, 25-year old cancer survivor, is awarded half a million dollars in case against Eli Lilly*.
1980 – DES banned in cattle feed.
1992 – After years of grassroots organizing led by DES Action, Congress passes the first federal legislation mandating a national program of research, outreach and education about DES.
1993 – National Cancer Institute (NCI) announces grants for a program of public and health care provider education about DES.
1995 – National Cancer Institute establishes committee to study non-cancer effects resulting from DES exposure; consumer education booklets published by NCI.
1997 – Congress passes legislation authorizing renewed funding for DES research and education.
2003 – CDC’s DES Update launches national education effort with website and publications to educate DES-exposed individuals and their health care providers.

A Healthy Baby Girl Documentary by Judith Helfand

A Healthy Baby Girl is an autobiographical documentary which explores the full complexity and impact of DES exposure. (DES or Diethylstilbestrol is a drug, an orally active synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen that was first synthesized in 1938. In 1971 it was found to be a teratogen when given to pregnant women.) Helfand’s mother was one of five million American women to whom DES was prescribed between 1947 and 1971, after being told by their doctors that the drug would prevent miscarriage. Florence Helfand was a typical DES mother: white, middle-class, and confident she was receiving the best prenatal care money could buy.

DES was not only proven to be completely ineffective in preventing miscarriage but for more than thirty years, pharmaceutical companies sold DES to millions of pregnant women knowing that the drug was toxic and carcinogenic. Only in 1971, when doctors discovered the link between DES and vaginal cancer in some young women exposed in utero, was the drug taken off the U.S. market for use during pregnancy. It continued to be sold overseas. Today there is no definitive estimate of how many millions of mothers and children have been exposed to DES worldwide.

Of the two and a half million DES daughters in the U.S., roughly half have malformed reproductive organs and suffer with infertility, high risk pregnancies, and multiple miscarriages. There are 2.5 million DES sons. They have not been as closely monitored but there are reports of male infertility, and links to testicular abnormalities and cancer. Researchers continue to uncover frightening facts about the life-long effect of exposure to DES, including higher rates of breast cancer in DES mothers and daughters, and damage to the endocrine and immune systems. Effects on the third generation – DES grandchildren – are as yet unknown.
Like its infamous contemporary DDT, DES is an estrogen-mimicking synthetic chemical, wreaking havoc on the hormonal system. These chemicals have been termed “hand-me-down-poisons” by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers, the authors of Our Stolen Future, because their toxic effects are not only experienced by those who are directly exposed, but also show up in their children as birth defects, cancer, or infertility. Such chemicals are in widespread use today in pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and manufacturing. The facilities simply do not exist to detect, test, and regulate more than a tiny fraction. The very nature of their toxicity – to our reproductive abilities – bears a potent threat for our future.

Here are additional links for more information regarding DES (Diethylstilbestrol)
National Cancer Institute – DES: Questions and Answers
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/DES
The CDC – DES Update Homepage
http://www.cdc.gov/DES/
Our Stolen Future: Excerpts from Chapter 4. Hormone Havoc
http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/Basics/chapter_excerpt..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethylstilbestrol

Read Full Post »


Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Information

In 1938, DES (diethylstilbestrol) was the first synthetic estrogen to be created. For a historical perspective see the DES Timeline. (The Timeline follows)

Never patented, DES was marketed using hundreds of brand names in the mistaken belief it prevented miscarriages and premature deliveries.

DES was prescribed primarily between 1938 and 1971 (but not limited to those years). It was considered the standard of care for problem pregnancies from the late 1940s well into the 1960s in the U.S. and was widely prescribed during that time. DES was sometimes even included in prenatal vitamins so there are many individuals who were not actually given DES but were exposed to it anyway. DES was given by injection, pill and vaginal suppository (sometimes called pessaries).

In April 1971 the FDA told doctors to stop using DES for their pregnant patients, however it was never banned. Specifically, the FDA said DES was contraindicated for pregnancy use. In some rare cases American doctors either didn’t hear of, or simply ignored the message and continued prescribing DES. Internationally, DES use during pregnancy continued for many subsequent years.

In the United States, an estimated 5–10 million people were exposed to DES, including women who were prescribed DES while pregnant, and the children born of those pregnancies.

Now researchers are investigating whether DES health issues are extending into the next generation, the so-called DES Grandchildren. As study results come in, there is growing evidence that this group has been adversely impacted by a drug prescribed to their grandmothers.

Interestingly, years after developing the chemical formulation for DES, its creator, Sir E. Charles Dodds was knighted for his accomplishment. It was fully expected that his synthetic estrogen would help women worldwide. At the time it was not known how dangerous this drug would be to developing fetuses.


Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Timeline

1938 – DES is created as first synthetic estrogen by Sir E. Charles Dodds in England.

1940 – French medical journal reports that DES caused mammary tumors in male mice.

1947 – DES formally granted FDA approval for use as a miscarriage preventative.

Harvard husband and wife team of physician and biochemist George and Olive Smith publish report extolling use of high doses of DES during pregnancy. This report launches wide-scale use of DES.

1953 – DES proven ineffective when William Dieckmann, M.D., of University of Chicago’s Lying-In Hospital conducts first controlled, randomized, double-blind study on use of DES during pregnancy. Published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the research reveals women receiving DES suffered a higher rate of miscarriages, yet DES continued to be prescribed to women until 1971. (Blame pharmaceutical companies for heavily promoting DES use to doctors)

1959 – U.S. Agriculture Department bans DES as a growth stimulant for chickens and lambs after high DES levels in these animals produced side effects, such as male breast growth in humans.

1971 – Arthur Herbst, M.D. et al publish report in New England Journal of Medicine linking DES exposure before birth, to a rare vaginal cancer in girls and young women – clear cell adenocarcinoma.

On the basis of this study the FDA issues a Drug Bulletin to physicians, stating that DES is contra-indicated for use in pregnant women. The FDA did not ban DES, but only urged doctors to stop prescribing it for their pregnant patients. Most, but not all, stopped.

1970s – Researchers study the effects of DES on DES Daughters and find significant abnormalities in the reproductive organs of these women, which often result in infertility or serious problems in pregnancy.

1975 – National Cancer Institute (NCI) begins DES-Adenosis (DESAD) project, the first government-sponsored study designed to “assess the magnitude and severity of the health hazard to DES-exposed female offspring.”

1978 – DES Action is founded as the national non-profit consumer group for people exposed to DES.

Secretary of the Department of Health, Education & Welfare, Joseph Califano, convenes the National DES Task Force. It was charged with reviewing all aspects of the DES problem and with making recommendations for research and health care of the exposed.

The National DES Task Force issues physician advisory, recommending doctors review their records and notify patients who were prescribed DES while pregnant. (Most doctors, however, did not).

1979 – First successful legal trial over DES injuries. Joyce Bichler, 25-year old cancer survivor, is awarded half a million dollars in case against Eli Lilly.

1980 – DES banned in cattle feed.

1992 – After years of grassroots organizing led by DES Action, Congress passes the first federal legislation mandating a national program of research, outreach and education about DES.

1993 – National Cancer Institute (NCI) announces grants for a program of public and health care provider education about DES.

1995 – National Cancer Institute establishes committee to study non-cancer effects resulting from DES exposure; consumer education booklets published by NCI.

1997 – Congress passes legislation authorizing renewed funding for DES research and education.

2003 – CDC’s DES Update launches national education effort with website and publications to educate DES-exposed individuals and their health care providers.

DES Action provides support, information, and advocacy for individuals affected by exposure to the synthetic estrogen drug diethylstilbestrol (DES). Click the link below to access their site for additional information.


DES Action

Read Full Post »