No I am not kidding. A study was published in the October edition of the journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” This study examined the male reproductive toxicity of a chemical called paradichlorobenzene (PDCB.) They did this by basically injecting rats daily with varying doses of the chemical and examining sperm morphology, as well as any changes in various sexual tissues such as the prostate and seminal vesicles. They did this with both normal and castrated rats.
They found that the normal rats had increases in the size of their prostate and seminal vesicles, which indicates an androgenic effect from the chemical. They did not look at any skeletal muscle changes in the normal rats, but when they looked at the castrated group of rats they did what is known as the Hershberger assay. This assay does examine skeletal muscle anabolism (specifically the levator ani / bulbocavernosus muscles.) The Hershberger assay clearly demonstrated a significant increase in the weight of the sexual organs in the rats administered the chemical at all doses, and significant increases of skeletal muscle weight in rats receiving the highest dose (though a trend was observed in this for lower dosage as well.) What this means is that PDCB acts similar to anabolic / androgenic steroids in rats – and it appears to have this activity in spite of the fact that neither it, nor its major metabolite, display any substantial binding to the androgen receptor.
Hopefully muscleheads won’t read this and proceed to swipe the urinal hockey puck things out of the gym bathroom. First of all that would be disgusting and second of all the effects of PDCB on the rats were not all pretty. Substantial decreases in sperm production were seen, and many of the sperm that stuck around were quite deformed.