Something Fishy in the Water

December 1, 2009 | NeW Staff

This is not necessarily new research, but it has gathered some cyber space attention this week with the uncomfortable headline: “Something in the Water is Feminizing Male Fish: Are We Next?”  Research over the last 9 years has shown that, “male fish swimming in some of that water are becoming “intersex,” their male sex organs producing immature female eggs.” Early research estimates that only small amounts of fish are affected, but the numbers coming in today are far greater than once projected. A couple of points here:

1.      How dangerous are the pollution levels in rivers that become our drinking water? Will this affect the development of boys more so than girls?

2.      What is the affect of “intersex” fish on population levels of these species?

3.      What, or rather who is injecting hormones in the water?

New research has yet to answer these questions conclusively but previous studies point to this:

“Wastewater treatment plants [that] flush endocrine-disruptive compounds (EDCs), including pharmaceuticals, pesticides and hormones, into rivers.”

So who’s the culprit? We are.

Each hormonal pill—including OTC birth control—which we digest could possibly be endangering an entire species. Too much of a stretch? Maybe. But when we “flush” additional hormones into our water system we cannot expect the effects to go unnoticed.

And what is worse, there are no regulations for controlling hormones in our drinking water. The cycle is completed as our glass of water may actually contain the hormone that went from human to fish back to human.

What do you think? Do we just wait for the research to conclusively prove this before we begin to change our daily habits?

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