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Posted 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.
[Read more stories about: pharmwater, toxic buildup, unintended consequences, endocrine disruptor, falling fertility, hermaphroditic creatures]

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