Oct 26

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Intersex Fish and Water Quality

Researchers are reeling in male fish with female characteristics, causing concerns about water quality. Let’s dive in:

Smallmouth bass. Micropterus dolomieui.

Intersex smallmouth bass: Found, in Pennsylvania river basins! (Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, NOAA)

A study in Pennsylvania river basins has turned up evidence of intersex fish—males carrying immature eggs. The result has raised concern about the widespread level of hormones in our waterways.

“We use fish as an indicator that there is something we should be concerned about,” explains research biologist Vicki Blazer with the U.S. Geological Survey. “This is something that is having effects on fish, and probably other organisms as well.”

While more research is needed to pinpoint the precise source of these estrogenic chemicals, agricultural runoff seems to play a role, since manure often contains hormones. Estrogen from the use of human birth control pills may also end up in wastewater.

Get schooled:

The fine print:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/intersex-fish/