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Birth-control-tainted water can bend gender of male fish<br><br>
By Seth Borenstein<br><br>
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS<br><br><br><br>
WASHINGTON - The female hormone estrogen can bend the gender of male fish that live in bodies of water contaminated with the residue of birth-control pills, a new study indicates.<br><br><br><br>
For three years, Canadian scientists have put birth-control pills into a remote Ontario lake to measure this impact.<br><br><br><br>
The results: All male fish in the lake -- from tiny tadpoles to large trout -- were "feminized," meaning they had egg proteins growing abnormally in their bodies.<br><br><br><br>
The experiment was intended to match the impact that the female hormone estrogen may be having on many American bodies of water, as city sewage systems empty waste into them that is contaminated with residue from birth-control pills.<br><br><br><br>
One-third of male Pearl Dace minnows grew eggs in their testes. The entire population of the common Fathead minnow, once numbering in the several thousands, crashed to near zero because the hormone-stoked fish couldn't reproduce.<br><br><br><br>
"Any fish species we have in the lake, any male is responding to the estrogen," said Karen Kidd, a research scientist at the Canadian Freshwater Institute and the study's chief researcher, who presented her findings to the American Chemistry Council last week. "It is a feminization. ... It's enough to be concerned about what's going on in the bigger picture (from estrogen)."<br><br><br><br>
Kidd's research -- the most controlled experiment ever to look at the effects of estrogen on ecosystems -- has heightened concerns that human female hormones may be hurting wildlife, said several scientists in the U.S. government.<br><br><br><br>
Scientists are looking at whether estrogen and chemicals that act like estrogen are affecting human males, as well, said Mike Mac, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Columbia Environmental Research Center.<br><br><br><br>
He noted that a study earlier this month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that rural men exposed to certain pesticides that act like estrogen had lower sperm counts.<br><br><br><br>
Kidd's $925,000 study is funded mostly by the Canadian government, with help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and private industry.<br><br><br><br>
Estrogen gets into waterways through a familiar path. Millions of women take different types of estrogen in birth-control pills and hormone replacement therapy; Kidd's study used the synthetic estrogen called ethynylestradiol, or EE2. When the women urinate, the estrogen passes into sewer systems, where bacteria eat much but not all of it. The remaining estrogen leaves sewage-treatment plants and flows into rivers, lakes and streams along with the treated waste water.<br><br><br><br>
"We do not have a good handle on what's (coming out of) these sewage treatment plants in this country yet," said Jim Lazorchak, the acting chief of the EPA's molecular ecology branch in Cincinnati, who has worked with Kidd on the lake experiment. "This is a very emerging issue."<br><br><br><br>
Scientists have suspected for years that estrogen from humans is at least partially to blame for strange animal sexual oddities -- such as hermaphrodites, which have both male and female characteristics -- but other hormones and common chemicals also are thought to disrupt animals' endocrine systems.<br><br><br><br>
As a result, scientists have had a difficult time finding a direct cause-and-effect example in the wild.
 

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Interesting article. But also other substances get into the water like plastic softeners, which also have a feminizing effect. In Berlin the waterworks were puzzled about a substance they found in groundwater, later they found that it was a fibrate, a medication against high cholesterol.
 

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So, <i>this</i> explains why I'm growing breasts!!!<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
BIG j/k! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by epski</i><br><br><b>So, <i>this</i> explains why I'm growing breasts!!!<br><br>
BIG j/k! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"></b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"> Epski!!!!
 
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