The Telegraph is reporting on a new study that is blaming estrogen found in the contraceptive pill and other chemicals for causing male river fish to become more feminine. Some of these fish have reduced sperm quality and are less competitive, which makes them less likely to breed successfully.
Tests showed that 20 percent of male fresh water fish at 50 sites had feminine characteristics as a result of the more than 200 chemicals being released from sewage plants that have been identified with estrogen-like effects such as antidepressants.
“We are showing that some of these chemicals can have much wider health effects on fish that we expected,” said Professor Charles Tyler of the University of Exeter. “Using specially created transgenic fish that allow us to see responses to these chemicals in the bodies of fish in real time, for example, we have shown that estrogens found in some plastics affect the valves in the heart.”
He added: “Other research has shown that many other chemicals that are discharged through sewage treatment works can affect fish, including antidepressant drugs that reduce the natural shyness of some fish species, including the way they react to predators.”
Professor Tyler will present his findings in the opening lecture of the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society in the British Isles at Exeter University which begins today and runs through July 7.
In his address, he will also explain how the offspring of these “transgender” or “intersex” fish can be more sensitive to these chemicals in subsequent exposures.
Scientists have become increasingly concerned about the impact of contraceptives and other chemicals on the environment. For example, in 2010, the Potomac Conservancy in Washington DC found that 80 percent of male bass fish in the Potomac River exhibited female traits, such as having eggs in their testes, which is likely due to these harmful chemicals.
According to the National Catholic Register, another report, issued in 2015 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found that birth-control hormones excreted by women into the nation’s waterways can impact fish fertility up to three generations after exposure.
The article cites an 1999-2000 USGS survey which found that 80% of water samples from 139 American rivers and streams in 30 states were found to be contaminated with drugs, ranging from antibiotics and antidepressants to contraceptives and hormone replacements.
A 2007 landmark study conducted in Canada which focused on the contraceptive chemical known as EE2 which induced “intersex” male minnows whose testicles contained eggs, as well as altered the egg production in females. This resulted in a “near extinction” of the species from the lake.
As can be expected, purveyors of birth control are only too quick to say that the estrogen found in birth control pills is only one of many chemicals that are to blame for this ecological mess. Others just plain ignore the research.
“It’s strange how even the most ardent environmentalists suddenly go silent when confronted with evidence of how birth-control pills harm aquatic ecosystems. Instead of angry calls for the regulation of a pollutant that is causing a ‘silent spring’ of hermaphroditic fish unable to breed, we hear nothing,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, to the Register.
“The barren left is so wedded to contracepted sex that they will brook no criticism of the means they use to ensure their sterility, even though, as the science shows, they sterilize other species in the process. Environmentalism meets the sexual revolution, and the sexual revolution wins.”
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