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January 19, 2007

Sex-Changing Chemicals Found In Potomac; May Explain State Department's Complete Lack of Balls

No, really. Even the part about balls is sorta true.

Chemicals known to change the sexual characteristics of fish and other animals have been found in West Virginia tributaries of the Potomac River, which runs through Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday.

An investigation into fish that had both male and female characteristics turned up a range of chemicals including pesticides, flame retardants, and personal-care products, the USGS said.

The Potomac is fed by rivers and streams in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

"We analyzed samples of 30 smallmouth bass from six sites, including male and female fish without intersex and male fish with intersex," said Douglas Chambers, a USGS scientist who led the study.

"All samples contained detectable levels of at least one known endocrine-disrupting compound, including samples from fish without intersex."

Endocrine disrupters affect the animals' hormone systems. They can cause birth defects and sexual abnormalities called intersex in species ranging from frogs to alligators and perhaps humans as well.

Thanks to RobG.


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posted by Ace at 05:42 PM

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