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Another Pollutant to Worry About?

Tim A

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Found this article (a very informative read, by the way) on "endocrine disruptors" showing up in the rivers in MN and WI. These pollutants are associated with pesticides among other possible sources. In some cases, fish have shown intersex characteristics.


I have to do more reading, but many fish species already have characteristics of both male and female reproductive capacities that dominate at different stages in their lives. Fisheries biologists, what say you?



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Fish on the pill?


They have been finding egg sacks in male Smallmouths in the Shenandoah watershed for some time blaming it on chemicals from birth control pills. The cycle is known. The chemicals are excreted normally and are not removed from water by the standard water treatment process. It was minimally reassuring that the problem was limited to high population areas like the Chesapeake watershed though it left me wondering about the Fox many of its tribs being treatment plants. BTW downstream towns that use treated river water as a source for drinking water don't remove the drugs either. So they can make another cycle through humans one or more times. "Better living through chemistry."


Now this. Fish in low population areas are not immune to similar problems since many state of the art agricultural drugs and chemicals have reached concentration levels in ground water to the point where they do some damage. Being in the vanguard on research makes Minnesota the bearer of the bad news unfortunately. But just because Illinois does not have the research does not mean it does not have the problem. Another chemical we will will hear from in the future is Atrazine, the preferred agricultural herbicide in the midwest for over 50 years. The same smarties in MN have found out that it does not break down completely as once thought. "Funny looking" frogs and turtles show up in waters that contain this former "friend of the farmer" once thought to be a near perfect herbicide that did the job and decayed immediately.


The natural instinct is to blame the farmer though this would be a gross error. Since they live off of the land they have always been the top supporters of the research done by the state Universities. Hoping to pass the land heritage on to their children, they voluntarily adopt sound conservation practices and are the current leaders in cleaning things up.


Tim, a grudging thanks for the link to a good article. Since we all drink water, we all should be reading up on the other things we are taking in our water.



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