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DocWatch
pharmwater
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News stories about "pharmwater," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?pharmwater
Related Scary Tags:
contamination  ~ toxic water  ~ endocrine disruptor  ~ hermaphroditic creatures  ~ pesticide runoff  ~ water issues  ~ toxic buildup  ~ antibiotic resistance  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ climate impacts  ~ health impacts  



Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from London Guardian:
Drugs flushed into the environment could be cause of wildlife decline
Potent pharmaceuticals flushed into the environment via human and animal sewage could be a hidden cause of the global wildlife crisis, according to new research. The scientists warn that worldwide use of the drugs, which are designed to be biologically active at low concentrations, is rising rapidly but that too little is currently known about their effect on the natural world. Studies of the effect of pharmaceutical contamination on wildlife are rare but new work published on Monday reveals that an anti-depressant reduces feeding in starlings and that a contraceptive drug slashes fish populations in lakes. ...


We are fouling our planetary nest.

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Wed, Apr 2, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Anti-Depressants In The Water Supply: 'Dramatic' Side-Effects Blight Aquatic Wildlife Fertility
Tiny quantities of anti-depressants are affecting the fertility of aquatic wildlife such as crustaceans and molluscs, a new study has shown. Scientists say they are becoming increasingly aware that drugs like Prozac and Sertraline, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, are having an impact on aquatic life. The new research has shown that lower than expected concentrations of the drugs in the water will affect the behaviour and biological make-up of these creatures, including changing colour, growing bigger and reproducing more. In some cases, a lower concentration affected them more than a higher dose. ...


Where's my Xanax!?

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Umea University:
Fish Become Bolder and More Gluttonous from Mood-Altering Drug Residue in Water
Anxiety-moderating drugs that reach waterways via wastewater create fearless and asocial fish that eat more quickly than normal. These behavioral changes can have serious ecological consequences. ...


They've got the munchies.

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012
from Mother Jones:
America's Top 10 Most-Polluted Waterways
If you are a fly-fisher, a rafter, or heck, just a person who drinks water, here is some troubling news: Our waterways are in rough shape. An eye-opening new report (PDF) from Environment America Research and Policy Center finds that industry discharged 226 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America's rivers and streams in 2010. The pollution included dead-zone-producing nitrates from food processors, mercury and other heavy metals from steel plants, and toxic chemicals from various kinds of refineries. Within the overall waste, the researchers identified 1.5 million pounds of carcinogens, 626,000 pounds of chemicals linked to developmental disorders and 354,000 pounds of those associated with reproductive problems. ...


A (shitty) river runs through it.

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Tue, Sep 20, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Gender-bent fish found downstream of pharmaceutical plants.
A French study finds that more than three-quarters of wild gudgeon fish examined had a mix of male and female traits in their sex organs if they lived directly downstream to a plant that manufactures pharmaceutical drugs. Exposure to the chemical mix discharged from the nearby drug plant may contribute to the abnormalities, the researchers report in the journal Environmental International. The study is important because it is the first to link discharge from a drug manufacturing plant -- rather than a sewage treatment plant -- with physical and chemical changes in fish living downstream. The researchers found that up to 80 percent of the fish they tested were intersex -- that is, the fish had both male and female characteristics in their ovaries or testis. Intersex indicates endocrine disruption in fish that can foreshadow larger effects on fish populations because of reductions in breeding abilities. ...


These fish are mainlining the good shit!

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Wed, Jul 6, 2011
from Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Concern rising over pollutants in waters
Scientists are increasingly aware of pollutants that were unknown or immeasurable just a few years ago. One documented effect has been the "feminization" of fish in the Mississippi River because of estrogen-like chemicals in the water.... Estrogenic substances can be found in things we use every day, such as detergents, prescription drugs, fragrances, birth control pills and patches, and personal care products such as body wash and shampoo. Hormones are also used in animal food. These chemicals can get into surface water -- rivers, streams and even relatively remote lakes -- through the effluent from sewage treatment plants, agricultural runoff, leaching from landfills, and drainage from rural septic systems. Once in the water, estrogen-like chemicals enter the bloodstreams of aquatic animals, including fish. They "deceive" the estrogen receptors in the fish because their molecular structure is so similar that receptors can't tell the difference. The result is a disruption of the fish's reproductive system, ranging from diminished size and strength to the production of eggs and ovarian tissue in the male fish's testicles. Just how worried should we be? The presence of these contaminants in Minnesota's rivers and lakes is a source of "concern, not alarm," says Heiko Schoenfuss, one of the leading researchers in the field. These "contaminants of emerging concern," or CECs, are getting the attention of scientists and environmentalists because of what we do know, but also because of what we don't know. ...


If they have a TLA, then it must be serious. OMG!

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Fri, May 27, 2011
from National Geographic:
Prozac Killing E. coli in the Great Lakes
Scientists in Erie, Pennsylvania, have found that minute concentrations of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, are killing off microbial populations in the Great Lakes. Traces of antidepressants such as Prozac have been found in both drinking and recreational water supplies throughout the world, in quantities experts say are too dilute to affect humans but which have been found to damage the reproductive systems of mollusks and may even affect the brains of animals like fish.... Killing off bacteria might seem like a good thing. "Your immediate thought is, 'well, that's good, because they're not supposed to be there anyways," said Mercyhurst College microbiologist Steve Mauro, whose team found fluoxetine in low doses in water near Lake Erie's beaches. "But what about all the other bacteria that are supposed to be there and part of that ecosystem?" ...


Best of all, the E. coli don't even mind.

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Fri, May 13, 2011
from Discovery News:
Lake Slime Loaded With Pollutants
Pesticides, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals and other hormone-disrupting chemicals soak into the slime that coats rocks at the bottom of lakes and streams, found a new study. Fish and aquatic insects then feed on those contaminated slimes, also known as biofilms. By documenting biofilms as covert hiding places for toxic chemicals, the study offers the potential for aquatic slimes to help remove pollution from wastewater effluents. For now, the findings also raise new concerns about how the chemicals in our drugs and personal care products work their way through food chains.... Concern has been building for years about the environmental effects of endocrine disrupters, a class of chemicals that can interrupt the hormonal systems of both people and animals that are exposed to them. These chemicals, which include hormones from birth control pills and ingredients of many plastics, end up in the discharge that flows out of wastewater treatment plants all over the developed world. ...


Slimant Green comes from people!

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from Science News:
Better by Design
...Many of today's chemicals -- in packaging, cleaning products, furniture and elsewhere -- go where they should not go and do more than they were designed to do. Bisphenol A, a common ingredient in polycarbonate plastics, has made headlines for getting into the body and interfering with tissue development and function (SN: 7/18/09, p. 5). Flame retardants new and old persist in the environment, contaminating soil, waterways and wildlife (SN: 4/24/10, p. 12). And a new analysis, reported online January 14 in Environmental Health Perspectives, finds that the blood and urine of 99 percent of pregnant American women tested contain a laundry list of chemical interlopers, including various PCBs, pesticides, PFCs, PBDEs, phthalates and the rocket-fuel ingredient perchlorate. Unless there is a fundamental shift in the way that chemicals are created from the outset, the next generation of compounds will probably be just as meddlesome... Currently more than 30 million metric tons of chemicals are produced in or imported to the United States each day, a quantity that would fill a line of tanker trucks 10,000 miles long. And industrial chemical production is expected to double in the next quarter century, outpacing population growth. ...


This is why my wife and I are gonna buy an android child!

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011
from Minnesota Public Radio News:
Study: Pharmaceutical chemicals widespread in Minn. streams
Potentially harmful chemicals and pharmaceuticals are widespread in Minnesota streams, state scientists found in a new study. The study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency also shows fish have genetic changes when exposed to the mix of chemicals.... Among the substances scientists most often found are the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole and carbamazepine, a drug used to treat atentionl deficit hyperactivity disorder, agency scientist Mark Ferrey said. They also found the antibiotic trimethoprim and anti-depressant compounds. Other commonly found chemicals include components of detergent, bisphenol A, which is found in plastics, and contraceptive hormones. ...


Public radio did this report? What do you wanna bet they only studied liberal fish and streams.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 4, 2011
from Washington Post:
Scientists want to help regulators decide safety of chemicals
Groups representing 40,000 researchers and clinicians are urging federal agencies responsible for the safety of chemicals to examine the subtle impact a chemical might have on the human body rather than simply ask whether it is toxic. In an open letter to the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to be published Friday in the journal Science, the scientists say the regulatory agencies need to tap into genetics, developmental biology, endocrinology and other disciplines when they analyze the safety of chemicals used in everyday products. "Although chemical testing and risk assessment have long been the domain of toxicologists, it is clear that the development of improved testing guidelines and better methods of assessing risks posed by common chemicals to which all Americans are exposed requires the expertise of a broad range of scientific and clinical disciplines," said the letter, which was signed by eight scientific societies.... "We're talking about picking the best geneticists, endocrinologists, reproductive biologists to consider new ways of testing these chemicals for safety," Hunt said. "The old toxicology paradigm doesn't work anymore." ...


We'd better check with industry before flying off the handle and bringing science into this.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from Yale360:
Unraveling the Mystery of the Bizarre Deformed Frogs
For the last two decades, strange things have been happening to frogs. Some frog populations have high rates of limb deformities, while others have high incidences of what is known as "intersex" -- traits associated with both males and females, such as male frogs whose testes contain eggs. David K. Skelly, professor of ecology at Yale University's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, set out to discover what was causing these deformities, which some researchers were attributing to an agricultural pesticide. His work has indeed implicated human activity, but not in the way many researchers had thought. Skelly says one thing is clear: The deformities showing up in frogs are almost certainly not caused by a single chemical, but rather by a whole suite of substances -- including medicines excreted by humans into the environment -- that act in concert to mimic hormones like estrogen or cause other ill effects. ...


That means there's no one to blame!

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Mon, Feb 7, 2011
from United Nations University, via EurekAlert:
Pollutants in aquifers may threaten future of Mexico's fast-growing 'Riviera Maya'
Pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, shampoo, toothpaste, pesticides, chemical run-off from highways and many other pollutants infiltrate the giant aquifer under Mexico's "Riviera Maya," research shows. The wastes contaminate a vast labyrinth of water-filled caves under the popular tourist destination on the Yucatan Peninsula. The polluted water flows through the caves and into the Caribbean Sea. Land-sourced pollution may have contributed, along with overfishing, coral diseases, and climate change, to the loss since 1990 of up to 50 percent of corals on the reefs off the region's coast. And, with a 10-fold increase in population through 2030 expected, the problems are likely to worsen, according to research published today in the journal Environmental Pollution.... While the levels of pollution found are not considered a health threat today, "the data provided in this study raise some concerns about the potential for human exposure from the consumption of contaminated drinking water." ...


I thought we flushed that shit away.

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from ProPublica:
Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit
As medical schools wrestle with how to keep drug companies from corrupting their faculties, Stanford University is often lauded for its tough stance. The school was one of the first to stop sales representatives from roaming its halls in 2006 [1]. It cut off the flow of free lunches and trinkets emblazoned with drug names. And last year, in a blow to its physicians' wallets, Stanford banned them from giving paid promotional talks for pharmaceutical companies. One thing it didn't do was make sure its faculty followed that rule. A ProPublica investigation found that more than a dozen of the school's doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of its policy--two of them earning six figures since last year. ...


Money... is the sweetest drug of all.

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Wed, Nov 10, 2010
from Scientific American:
A warming Earth could mean stronger toxins
Global warming may be making pesticide residues, heavy metals and household chemicals more dangerous to fish, wildlife and, ultimately, humans, scientists warn. At the North American branch of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's 31st annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, on 8 November, environmental chemists warned that complex interactions between chemistry and climate change might be making chemicals more toxic and the environment more susceptible to damage.... climate change will cause differences in the movement, quality and distribution of water that could affect stream acidity all over the world. This would alter the toxicity of chemicals such as pharmaceuticals, which make their way into these streams when they are excreted into waster water and flushed down the toilet. Drugs are designed so that small changes in acidity alter their bioavailability, helping to route them to the bodily tissues where they are needed. But when they reach the environment, says Valenti, "it's the same thing. I've seen upwards of 10- to 20-fold differences in toxicity at pH 9 compared with pH 6".... Goss studied Daphnia magna, a tiny freshwater crustacean used in many aquatic toxicity studies. "We saw greater sensitivity to lead at higher temperatures," she said. ...


That would be true only if you believe in toxicity.

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Thu, Jul 29, 2010
from University of Calgary, via EurekAlert:
Gender-bending fish on the rise in southern Alberta
Chemicals present in two rivers in southern Alberta are likely the cause of the feminization of fish say researchers at the University of Calgary.... "We found that chemicals - man-made and naturally occurring - that have the potential to harm fish were present along approximately 600 km of river," ... The study focused on two rivers in the South Saskatchewan River Basin: The Red Deer and Oldman rivers, located in southern Alberta, Canada. The water was analyzed for more than two dozen organic contaminants, many with hormone-like activity, commonly found in wastewater or rivers impacted by human and agricultural activity. Compounds detected in the water included synthetic estrogens (birth control pill compounds and hormone therapy drugs); bisphenol A, a chemical used in making plastics; and certain types of natural and synthetic steroids that are byproducts of agricultural run-off and cattle farming.... Our results showed females make up 85 per cent of the population of longnose dace. In the upstream locations, females comprise 55 per cent of the population," says Habibi... ...


And what males remain... are exhausted.

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Fri, Jul 9, 2010
from New Scientist:
Prawns on Prozac, whatever next? Crabs on cocaine?
Second-hand Prozac in waste water could be sending shrimps' swimming patterns haywire, making them easy targets for predators. Alex Ford and Yasmin Guler at the University of Portsmouth in the UK collected local shrimp, Echinogammarus marinus, and observed their behaviour in the lab. The shrimp were exposed to different levels of the antidepressant fluoextine - or Prozac - to test whether the presence of the drug would affect the way the shrimp respond to light. In humans, Prozac acts as a mood enhancer by prolonging the effect of serotonin at nerve terminals. The shrimp, on the other hand, responded to increased serotonin levels by swimming towards the light (Aquatic Toxicology DOI:10.1016/j/aquatox.2010.05.019). The pair found that shrimps exposed to the same Prozac levels present in waste water that flows to rivers and estuaries are five times more likely to swim toward the light instead of away from it. ...


Whatever you do... don't... go... to... the light!

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Fri, May 14, 2010
from ChemicalWatch:
Bill on screening for endocrine disrupters in drinking water enters Congress
Ed Markey, chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee,and Jim Moran, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment,have introduced the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Enhancement Act (HR 5210), which is designed to update the US Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The Bill requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to establish a programme that tests chemicals found in drinking water to determine whether they are endocrine disruptors and if so, to determine the extent of their ability to interfere with the body's hormonal system. The EPA would have to produce a schedule for identifying and testing substances found in drinking water, ensuring that at least 100 chemicals found in drinking water were tested within four years. ...


And not a moment too soon!

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Sun, Apr 25, 2010
from Minnesota Public Radio:
Study finds levels of pharmaceuticals in wastewater widespread
In the most comprehensive study of a variety of chemical compounds coming from municipal sewage plants, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency confirmed widespread, but low concentrations of water contamination from human medications and antibiotics... The study reinforced what earlier researchers learned, that pharmaceutical compounds used by people are very common in rivers and lakes across the state. Researchers also found another class of chemical compounds in their water samples -- endocrine disruptors proven to alter fish reproduction. The compounds researchers found most often include carbamazapine, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder. They also found various antibiotics and diphenhydramine, a common antihistamine. ...


Dude. We are all so on drugs.

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Thu, Apr 22, 2010
from London Guardian:
'Toxic stew' of chemicals causing male fish to carry eggs in testes
More than 80 percent of the male bass fish in Washington's major river are now exhibiting female traits such as egg production because of a "toxic stew" of pollutants, scientists and campaigners reported yesterday. Intersex fish probably result from drugs, such as the contraceptive pill, and other chemicals being flushed into the water and have been found right across the US. The Potomac Conservancy, which focuses on Washington DC's river, called for new research to determine what was causing male smallmouth bass to carry immature eggs in their testes. "We have not been able to identify one particular chemical or one particular source," said Vicki Blazer, a fish biologist with the US geological survey. "We are still trying to get a handle on what chemicals are important." But she said early evidence pointed to a mix of chemicals -- commonly used at home as well as those used in large-scale farming operations -- causing the deformities. The suspect chemicals mimic natural hormones and disrupt the endocrine system, with young fish being particularly susceptible. ...


These days it seems men have to do everything!

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Sun, Apr 18, 2010
from Yale 360:
As Pharmaceutical Use Soars, Drugs Taint Water and Wildlife
In recent years, scientists have detected trace amounts of more than 150 different human and veterinary medicines in environments as far afield as the Arctic. Eighty percent of the U.S.'s streams and nearly a quarter of the nation's groundwater sampled by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been found to be contaminated with a variety of medications.... Drugging our bodies inevitably drugs our environment, too, as many medications can pass through our bodies and waste treatment facilities virtually intact. And it is difficult to predict where and how unexpectedly vulnerable creatures may accrue potentially toxic doses.... A large body of evidence has connected this contamination with excess feminization in fish. In one study, U.S. and Canadian government scientists purposely contaminated an experimental lake in Ontario with around 5 nanograms per liter of ethynyl estradiol, and studied the effects on the lake's fathead minnow population, a common species that fish like lake trout and northern pike feed on.... Exposed to ethynyl estradiol, the male minnows' testicular development was arrested and they started making early-stage eggs instead. That year's mating season was disastrous. Within two years, the minnow population crashed. ...


Hey, the world is sick. We do what we always do: medicate.

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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Greenwich Time:
For frogs, and perhaps humans, there's something strange in the water
Medications leaking into groundwater are producing strange effects on the frogs of Connecticut, effects that could be a harbinger of safety concerns for humans, too, researchers say. A team led by David Skelly, professor of ecology and associate dean for research at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, has found that male frogs are developing eggs in their reproductive tracts... Skelly's team found that deformities were concentrated in suburban and urban areas, which was something of a surprise for the scientists because it was previously thought that chemicals used on the farm were mostly to blame, particularly the widely used cornfield herbicide atrazine. "But in agricultural areas, only 7 percent of the frogs show these deformities," he said. "In urban and suburban areas, it's about 20 percent." ...


These urban and suburban frogs are already metrosexual.

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Thu, Feb 11, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Antibiotics as active mutagens in the emergence of multidrug resistance
It is commonly thought that an incomplete course of antibiotics would lead to resistance to that particular antibiotic by allowing the bacteria to make adaptive changes under less stringent conditions.... However, new research... shows that low doses of antibiotics can produce mutant strains that are sensitive to the applied antibiotic but have cross-resistance to other antibiotics. Their findings shed light on one of multiple mechanisms that may contribute to the emergence of multidrug resistant bacterial strains or so called "superbugs". ...


I guess my daily homeopathic-level Tetracycline isn't a good idea!

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Associated Press:
Even if you're careful, drugs can end up in water
The federal government advises throwing most unused or expired medications into the trash instead of down the drain, but they can end up in the water anyway, a study from Maine suggests. Tiny amounts of discarded drugs have been found in water at three landfills in the state, confirming suspicions that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash are ending up in water that drains through waste, according to a survey by the state's environmental agency that's one of only a handful to have looked at the presence of drugs in landfills. That landfill water - known as leachate - eventually ends up in rivers. Most of Maine doesn't draw its drinking water from rivers where the leachate ends up, but in other states that do, water supplies that come from rivers could potentially be contaminated. The results of the survey are being made known as lawmakers in Maine consider a bill, among the first of its kind in the nation, that would require drug manufacturers to develop and pay for a program to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from residents and dispose of them. ...


Seems the only right course is to consume the unused or expired meds and store them — permanently — in your fatty tissues.

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Tue, Dec 1, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Mixture more imposing on brain messenger than lone chemicals
Scientists demonstrate that the effects of different environmental contaminants can add together to have a greater effect on an important signaling chemical in the brain. A mixture of different environmental contaminants can add up to a have a bigger effect on an important brain chemical called glutamate than any one of them alone. ...


Coldcocktailed!

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from New York Times:
Sewers at Capacity, Waste Poisons Waterways
A little after 1 a.m., with a harder rain falling, Owls Head reached its capacity and workers started shutting the intake gates. That caused a rising tide throughout Brooklyn's sewers, and untreated feces and industrial waste started spilling from emergency relief valves into the Upper New York Bay and Gowanus Canal. "It happens anytime you get a hard rainfall," said Bob Connaughton, one the plant's engineers. "Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes of rain, and you've got overflows across Brooklyn."... In the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation's 25,000 sewage systems -- including those in major cities -- have reported violating the law by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and elsewhere, according to data from state environmental agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency. But fewer than one in five sewage systems that broke the law were ever fined or otherwise sanctioned by state or federal regulators, the Times analysis shows. ...


What are oceans, lakes, and streams for, if not to dump our shit in?

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Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Fri, Nov 13, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Cocaine, Spices, Hormones Found in Drinking Water
How's this for a sweet surprise? A team of researchers in Washington State has found traces of cooking spices and flavorings in the waters of Puget Sound.... The Puget Sound study is one of several ongoing efforts to investigate the unexpected ingredients that find their way into the global water supply. Around the world, scientists are finding trace amounts of substances -- from sugar and spice to heroine, rocket fuel, and birth control -- that might be having unintended consequences for humans and wildlife alike. ...


Water has never tasked sooooo good!

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Mon, Nov 2, 2009
from Parkersburg News and Sentinel:
Ohio River leads nation in toxic discharge
A national environmental group has released a study indicating two area rivers are among the top 10 waterways for total toxic discharge... The bulk of the New River's 14 million pounds of toxic discharge is largely the result of the U.S. Army Radford Army Ammunition plant in Radford, Va. The study claims the plant is responsible for more than 13.6 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the New River. Calls to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection office in Parkersburg were referred to Charleston. After several days of leaving messages, officials in Charleston referred questions to Melyssa Savage, Title III program manager for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Savage was out of the office. ...


Maybe everybody's gone fishing.

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Mon, Oct 19, 2009
from Voice of America:
Fish Kills Linked to Water Pollutants
Since 2002 thousands of fish in the United States have died and continue to die in many rivers, most in the rivers of the southern east coast. Researchers have found what they call "the feminization of fish" or the presence of immature eggs in male fish. They have also found different levels of water contamination all related to human activity. The government says twenty percent of male black bass in river basins across the country have immature egg cells in their sexual organs....Scientists have found contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides, estrogen and birth control chemicals in the river. Higher concentrations were found where farming is intense and human population dense. In general, water treatment plants do not remove all chemicals before dumping water back into rivers. So called endocrine disruptors are especially worrisome because they can change sexual behavior. ...


Her/him/maphrodite phish.

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Thu, Oct 1, 2009
from Science News:
Excreted Tamiflu found in rivers
The premier flu-fighting drug is contaminating rivers downstream of sewage-treatment facilities, researchers in Japan confirm. The source: urinary excretion by people taking oseltamivir phosphate, best known as Tamiflu. Concerns are now building that birds, which are natural influenza carriers, are being exposed to waterborne residues of Tamiflu's active form and might develop and spread drug-resistant strains of seasonal and avian flu. ...


I am never excreting again!

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Sat, Sep 12, 2009
from AP, via NYT:
Dangerous Staph Germs Found at West Coast Beaches
Dangerous staph bacteria have been found in sand and water for the first time at five public beaches along the coast of Washington, and scientists think the state is not the only one with this problem. The germ is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- a hard-to-treat bug once rarely seen outside of hospitals but that increasingly is spreading in ordinary community settings such as schools, locker rooms and gyms. The germ causes nasty skin infections as well as pneumonia and other life-threatening problems. It spreads mostly through human contact. Little is known about environmental sources that also may harbor the germ.... In the new study, researchers tested 10 beaches in Washington along the West Coast and in Puget Sound from February to September 2008. Staph bacteria were found at nine of them, including five with MRSA. The strains resembled the highly resistant ones usually seen in hospitals, rather than the milder strains acquired in community settings, Roberts said.... "Make sure you get all the sand off," and cover any open cuts or scrapes before playing in the sand, Roberts added. ...


We all know how easy getting beach sand off is!

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Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Unprecedented levels of antibiotics pollute India's water.
Levels of antibiotics measured in streams, lakes and well water near pharmaceutical factories in India are 100,000 to 1,000,000 times higher than levels measured in waters that receive sewage effluent in the US or China. Much of the world's supply of generic antibiotics is produced in the study area.... These levels of contamination are alarming for two reasons. First, they may adversely affect human health following exposure to contaminated water. The health effects of ongoing exposure to high concentrations of mixtures of pharmaceutical mixtures are largely unknown. This is especially true for a developing fetus, baby or child. Second, they generate conditions that may foster development of antibiotic resistant strains of pathogens. ...


Ground zero for all kinds of patient zeros!

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Wed, Aug 12, 2009
from University of Minnesota, via EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
University of Minnesota researchers discover high levels of estrogens in some industrial wastewater
In a groundbreaking study, civil engineering researchers in the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology have discovered that certain industries may be a significant source of plant-based estrogens, called phytoestrogens, in surface water. They also revealed that some of these phytoestrogens can be removed through standard wastewater treatment, but in some cases, the compounds remain at levels that may be damaging to fish.... They found very high concentrations of these hormone-mimicking phytoestrogens -- up to 250 times higher than the level at which feminization of fish has been seen in other research -- in the wastewater discharged from eight industrial sites, including biodiesel plants, a soy milk factory, a barbecue meat processing facility and a dairy. They also detected high concentrations of phytoestrogens in the water discharged by some municipal wastewater treatment plants. The good news is that the researchers revealed that phytoestrogens can be removed from water as it goes through standard treatment. In fact, they saw more than 90 percent removal of these compounds from the water. Unfortunately, sometimes 99 percent removal is needed to reach levels that are considered harmless to fish. ...


Oh, poor Alex... um, Alexandra.... uh, Sasha!

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Tue, Jul 14, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
Chicago water: In public reports, city silent over sex hormones and painkillers found in treated drinking water
Annual water quality reports mailed to Chicagoans this month didn't say a word about sex hormones, painkillers or anti-cholesterol drugs, even though city officials found traces of pharmaceuticals and other unregulated substances in treated Lake Michigan water during the past year. Like other cities, Chicago must notify the public if its drinking water contains certain regulated contaminants, including lead, pesticides and harmful bacteria. But pharmaceutical chemicals, which have been detected in drinking water across the country, are not on that list. ...


Perhaps everyone's too high from drinking the elixir to care!

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Wed, Jun 10, 2009
from Associated Press:
Pollution experts: Save fish from drugs in water
Pollution experts on Tuesday pressed a congressional panel for stronger action to keep pharmaceuticals and other contaminants out of the water, saying they are hurting fish and may threaten human health. Thomas P. Fote, a New Jersey conservationist who sits on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, said the pollutants are damaging commercial fisheries. He told congressmen not to "study a problem to death and never do anything." Fote appeared in a lineup of witnesses Tuesday before the subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee. The witnesses pointed to research showing damage to fish and other aquatic species from pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other industrial chemicals, especially those that alter growth-regulating endocrine systems. Some scientists worry about the potential of similar harm to humans. ...


These fish need a "just say no" campaign.

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Tue, Jun 9, 2009
from University of Montreal, via EurekAlert:
Antibiotics, antimicrobials and antifungals in waterways
Antibiotics, antimicrobials and antifungals are seeping into the waterways of North America, Europe and East Asia, according to an investigation published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).... [T]he review found that consumption of anti-infectives for human and agriculture use contributes to their release into the environment and even into drinking water. "Anti-infectives are constantly discharged, at trace levels, in natural waters near urban centres and agricultural areas," says senior author Sebastien Sauve, a Universite de Montreal professor of environmental analytical chemistry. "Their potential contribution to the spread of anti-infective resistance in bacteria and other effects on aquatic biota is a cause for concern." ...


Here in the US we call it the new health care initiative.

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Wed, May 13, 2009
from London Daily Mail:
Gender-bending chemical timebomb fear for boys' fertility
Chemicals in food, cosmetics and cleaning products are 'feminising' unborn boys and raising their risk of cancer and infertility later in life, an expert warns today. Professor Richard Sharpe, one of Britain's leading reproductive biologists, says everyday substances are linked to soaring rates of birth defects and testicular cancer, and to falling sperm counts. The government adviser's report published today is the most detailed yet into the threat posed to baby boys by chemicals that block the action of the male sex hormone testosterone, or mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen...In repeated experiments, testosterone-disrupting chemicals found in pesticides, drugs, plastics and household products created symptoms of TDS [Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome] in laboratory animals. Some of the experiments showed that the chemicals work in combination - causing problems at doses where the individual chemicals should be harmless. ...


Like the old song says: I enJOY being a girl!!!

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Tue, May 5, 2009
from Washington Post:
For Old Drugs, New Tricks
...leftover pills can seem so small, so easily disposable, that many people routinely flush them down toilets, wash them down sinks or throw them in trash that goes to a landfill. And then they often end up in places where they shouldn't be, like the public water supply. The average American takes more than 12 prescription drugs annually, with more than 3.8 billion prescriptions purchased each year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The most commonly cited estimates from Environmental Protection Agency researchers say that about 19 million tons of active pharmaceutical ingredients are dumped into the nation's waste stream every year. ...


Funny how I always feel my mood elevated after a cool drink of tapwater.

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Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
In the mix: equine estrogens used in HRT
Equine estrogens, presumably derived from human hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications, are pervasive in effluents from sewage treatment works (STW) in the U.K., according to a comprehensive study published in ES&T (DOI 10.1021/es803135q). The study demonstrates, both in vitro and in vivo, that these compounds can have substantial effects on the reproductive systems of fish. In most HRT regimens, women ingest estrogens derived from the urine of pregnant mares. The researchers routinely detected one of these equine estrogens, equilenin (Eqn), and a metabolite, 17β-dihydroequilenin (17β-Eqn), in STW discharge from multiple facilities, says lead author Charles Tyler of the University of Exeter (U.K.). ...


Maybe this is how seahorses are created.

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Thu, Mar 26, 2009
from Associated Press:
Study: Range of pharmaceuticals in fish across US
Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday. Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations. "The average person hopefully will see this type of a study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day, where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it," said study co-author Bryan Brooks, a Baylor University researcher and professor who has published more than a dozen studies related to pharmaceuticals in the environment. ...


With all those drugs... fish will never be sick again!

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Sat, Feb 7, 2009
from Reuters Health:
Testosterone-blocking chemicals found in wastewater
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Testosterone-inhibiting chemicals appear to be finding their way into UK rivers, possibly helping to "feminize" male fish -- and raising questions about what the effects on human health might be, according to researchers. In tests of treated sewage wastewater flowing into 51 UK rivers, the researchers found that almost all of the samples contained anti-androgen chemicals -- substances that block the action of the male sex hormone testosterone. What's more, when the researchers studied fish taken from the rivers, they found that exposure to anti-androgens seemed to be contributing to the feminization of some male fish - male fish with feminized ducts or germ cells. What this means for humans is not clear. But the findings raise the possibility of effects on male fertility, the investigators report in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Past studies have suggested that estrogen-disrupting pollutants -- from sources like industrial chemicals and birth-control pills -- may be leading to the feminization of some wild fish. Researchers have discovered river-dwelling male fish with female characteristics, including eggs in their testes. There have been doubts about whether the findings are relevant to men's fertility, however, since the presumed culprit chemicals in fish do not disrupt testosterone. But now these latest findings implicate anti-androgens in the feminization of fish as well. ...


Researchers also note the feminized male fish swim with a certain suggestive wiggle...

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Sat, Jan 31, 2009
from The Herald News (MA):
Flowing medicine cabinet
PATANCHERU, India -- When researchers analyzed vials of treated wastewater taken from a plant where about 90 Indian drug factories dump their residues, they were shocked. Enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000. And it wasn't just ciprofloxacin being detected. The supposedly cleaned water was a floating medicine cabinet -- a soup of 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients, used in generics for treatment of hypertension, heart disease, chronic liver ailments, depression, gonorrhea, ulcers and other ailments. Half of the drugs measured at the highest levels of pharmaceuticals ever detected in the environment, researchers say. Those Indian factories produce drugs for much of the world, including many Americans. The result: Some of India's poor are unwittingly consuming an array of chemicals that may be harmful, and could lead to the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria.... "I'll tell you, I've never seen concentrations this high before. And they definitely ... are having some biological impact, at least in the effluent," said Dan Schlenk, an ecotoxicologist from the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the India research. ...


Boy, am I glad we're not responsible. We only buy the drugs from their factories.

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Wed, Jan 28, 2009
from ACS, via EurekAlert:
Substantial work ahead for water issues, say scientists at ACS' Final Report briefing
Scientists and engineers will face a host of obstacles over the next decade in providing clean water to millions of people caught up in a water shortage crisis, a panel of scientists and engineers said today... Although Edwards stressed the importance of water conservation in meeting those, he also cited unintended consequences of such efforts. He noted, for instance, that reduced-flush toilets and other water conservation methods are allowing water to remain in household pipes longer. As it stagnates in pipes, the water could develop undesirable characteristics and have unwanted effects on household plumbing.... For instance, hypoxic zones in the Bay -- large areas of low oxygen levels where most animals can't live -- are still growing despite lacking the nutrients they need for expansion. "We don't fully understood why that is so," Ball said. "There's a lot to be learned yet about what locations and causes lead to that phenomenon, whether there are carbon sources coming in from the shallows into the deep that current models and understanding don't capture."... For example, the use of sensors to detect potentially toxic substances in water could provide general benefits for safety. Cost-effective, low maintenance sensors are a Holy Grail, Haas said, but difficult to develop. He warned that over-sensitive sensors could be counterproductive. ...


It was so easy getting into this mess. Why isn't it easier to get out?

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Thu, Jan 22, 2009
from Tucson Citizen:
UA lab to check for emerging contaminants such as Prozac, estrogen
The Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants, known as ALEC, uses super-sensitive instruments to test water, soil and tissue for minute amounts of substances such as uranium, heavy metals and organic compounds, including pharmaceuticals, said Jon Chorover, co-director of the lab.... Emerging contaminants are substances -- including Viagra, estrogen and Prozac that are raising alarms as potential hazards when found in water or foods containing or grown with contaminated water. These contaminants are a growing concern in Arizona, where water is a precious resource. ...


But what happens if they find these contaminants? Is there a market for recycled Viagra?

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Wed, Jan 14, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Herbal medicine sales up in sour economy; consumers seek cheaper, but often unproven, options
CHICAGO (AP)-- The choice between $75 prescription sleeping pills or a $5 herbal alternative is a no-brainer for Cathy and Bernard Birleffi, whose insurance costs have skyrocketed along with the nation's financial woes. The Calistoga, Calif., couple seem to reflect a trend. With many Americans putting off routine doctor visits and self-medicating to save money, use of alternative treatments is on the rise even though evidence is often lacking on their safety and effectiveness. Climbing sales of herbal medicines have paralleled the tanking economy, according to an Associated Press review of recent data from market-watchers and retailers. ...


Even if these herbal remedies aren't as good at restoring health, they're not as harmful as pharmaceuticals when you piss them into the groundwater!

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Wed, Nov 26, 2008
from Science News:
Antidepressants make for sad fish
...Tons of medicine ends up in the environment each year. Much has been excreted by patients. Leftover pills may also have been flushed down the toilet. Because water treatment plants were never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, water released into rivers by these plants generally carries a broad and diverse array of drug residues.... Fish exposed as embryos or hatchlings to trace concentrations of the antidepressant venlafaxine, marketed as Effexor, didn't react as quickly as normal to stimuli signaling a possible predator. This laid-back reaction could prove to be a "death sentence"... ...


Hey, for all we know, it's fun to be lunch!

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Mon, Sep 15, 2008
from Associated Press:
Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year
U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities annually flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain, pumping contaminants into America's drinking water... These discarded medications are expired, spoiled, over-prescribed or unneeded... Few of the country's 5,700 hospitals and 45,000 long-term care homes keep data on the pharmaceutical waste they generate. Based on a small sample, though, the AP was able to project an annual national estimate of at least 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging, with no way to separate out the drug volume. ...


As long as there's plenty of Prozac in there... who's to worry?

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Mon, Sep 15, 2008
from NewsInferno:
Even More Americans Affected by Pharmaceuticals in Water Than First Believed
After a five-month-long inquiry conducted by the AP earlier this year, it found many communities do not test for drugs in drinking water and those that do often fail to tell customers they have found medications, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones. At that time, medications were found in drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas. Water providers are not required to test for pharmaceuticals and the EPA's budget for the testing of endocrine disruptors in America's waterways was cut by 35 percent. ...


Love that dirty water.

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Mon, Sep 8, 2008
from Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Testing for drugs in Tennessee River system under way
Caffeine was found in more than 93 percent of about 160 test samples of river water... [as well as] at least 12 other common drugs, including several antibiotics, antidepressants and substances designed to lower human cholesterol levels. While the amount of drugs in the water is tiny by human standards, they one day may have a serious impact on the environment -- and on humans, as well, he said.... "If you're taking all these drugs at once, in really low concentrations, for your entire life, does that sound like a good thing? I don't think so," he said. ...


Maybe this is our new universal health care plan.

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Sat, Aug 23, 2008
from Chemistry World:
Chinese sewage plant study raises concerns
Many water treatment facilities in China are failing to remove toxic organic chemicals and levels of some chemicals are actually increasing during treatment, according to researchers from Nankai University, Tianjin.... One of the chemicals monitored by Sun's team is nonylphenol, released during the breakdown of nonylphenol polyethoxylate detergents. Nonylphenol is an endocrine disrupter... [T]he sewage treatment works only removed 60-70 per cent of nonylphenol polyethoxylate from water... To make matters worse, nonylphenol polyethoxylate degrades into smaller metabolites, such as nonylphenol, which could be 70 times more toxic than their precursors. ...


"To make matters worse," indeed.

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Tue, Jul 22, 2008
from Scientific American:
Happy Fish Go Hungry?
"...Toxicologists at Clemson University in South Carolina have found that hybrid striped bass exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine (the generic name for Eli Lilly's Prozac) were markedly less interested in feeding than other fish. The more fluoxetine ingested, the less the appetite. The fish also did things that could lead to life-shortening events -- like failing to take usual precautions around predators and making them easier prey." ...


We knew clams were happy, but now we know striped bass are rockin'!

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Fri, May 2, 2008
from AP, via CNN:
Pharmaceuticals in reservoir causing troubling problems to fish, wildlife
A five-month Associated Press investigation has determined that trace amounts of many of the pharmaceuticals we take to stay healthy are seeping into drinking water supplies, and a growing body of research indicates that this could harm humans. But people aren't the only ones who consume that water. There is more and more evidence that some animals that live in or drink from streams and lakes are seriously affected.... Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe reproductive problems in many types of fish: The endangered razorback sucker and male fathead minnow have been found with lower sperm counts and damaged sperm; some walleyes and male carp have become what are called feminized fish, producing egg yolk proteins typically made only by females. Meanwhile, female fish have developed male genital organs. Also, there are skewed sex ratios in some aquatic populations, and sexually abnormal bass that produce cells for both sperm and eggs. ...


No doubt those fish throw some wild parties!

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Mon, Mar 10, 2008
from Associated Press:
AP probe finds drugs in drinking water
"A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows. To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe. But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health." ...


Maybe this is why -- in all those drug studies -- placebos are so effective. If we're drinking water, we're already on drugs.

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Fri, Mar 7, 2008
from Science Daily (US):
Chemicals In Our Waters Are Affecting Humans And Aquatic Life In Unanticipated Ways
Derek Muir of Environment Canada and colleagues have determined that of the 30,000 or so chemicals used commercially in the United States and Canada, about 400 resist breaking down in the environment and can accumulate in fish and wildlife. These researchers estimate that of this 400, only 4 percent are routinely analyzed and about 75 percent have not been studied.... found that some combinations were much more toxic to the juvenile salmon than any one of the chemicals acting alone... ...


Willya quit ganging up on them?

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Wed, Feb 20, 2008
from Terra Daily:
Fish Devastated By Sex-Changing Chemicals In Municipal Wastewater
"While most people understand the dangers of flushing toxic chemicals into the ecosystem through municipal sewer systems, one potentially devastating threat to wild fish populations comes from an unlikely source: estrogen. After an exhaustive seven-year research effort, Canadian biologists found that miniscule amounts of estrogen present in municipal wastewater discharges can decimate wild fish populations living downstream ... Male fish exposed to estrogen become feminized, producing egg protein normally synthesized by females." ...


Bad for the fish's health and bad for their self-esteem as the males are considered girly-fish.

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