Transgender Fish Found; Fertility Compromised

The latest U.S. Geological Survey found that 85 percent of male smallmouth bass in and near wildlife refuges in the Northeast show compromised fertility: They have eggs where their testes should be, according to the Washington Post. Earlier, surveys had found as much as 100 percent of fish in the southern Potomac River were affected, and 90 percent in West Virginia. A reported 37 species of fish have been identified as exhibiting “intersex changes” that affect fertility, and although scientists have not yet identified the culprit, many believe endocrine disrupting chemicals are to blame.

37 fish species now exhibit “intersex changes” that affect fertility, and many scientists believe endocrine disrupting chemicals are to blame.

The USGS researchers stopped short of targeting one specific chemical class, but “the strongest suspicion focuses on what is poured down the drains of homes, businesses and farms every day. Scientists are worried that prescription drugs such as birth control and mood-control pharmaceuticals, flushed down toilets, and chemical pesticides such as atrazine, washed off farms by rain, have turned creeks, streams and rivers into chemical soups that disrupt the endocrines of marine life,” the Post reported.

Biologists have previously looked at the effects of BPA exposure, as well as synthetic hormones, on male fish–and found similar effects on fertility extended through generations.

Could these types of exposures also be affecting the fertility of human beings?

“These effects have been observed in other organisms, including mammals,” the article quoted co-author and research toxicologist Don Tillitt as saying. “The mechanism occurs in the epi-genome, around the genome. Not the genes, but how those genes are expressed.”

Epigenetic changes can be seen through multiple generations.

Sounds fishy to me.

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