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Posted 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.
[Read more stories about: endocrine disruptor, pharmwater, hermaphroditic creatures, water issues]

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