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Gender-bending Chemicals in Water Supply
Researchers from the University of Calgary sampled populations of longnose dace, a silvery minnow, in Alberta’s Oldman and Bow Rivers. The Bow River flows through downtown Calgary and supplies its drinking water. Samples were taken back to the lab and dissected for further analysis and biologists then noticed that the random catch was overwhelmingly female.

The Albertans were among a growing body of researchers to observe disturbing associations between waste-contaminated water sources and gender-bending effects among the organisms that live in or drink from those sources – including humans. The leading suspect is a broad range of potent chemicals that act on or mimic endocrine hormones, the chemicals that carry signals around the bodies of living creatures to trigger or turn off physiological activity.

These chemicals aren't limited to a few isolated "hot spots" down-stream from cities or feedlots. Some 23,000 toxic compounds are estimated to be present in the Canadian living and working environment -- with 1,000 new ones added every year. Another 7,000 pesticide formulations are registered with federal authorities; at least 60 of those are banned in most other industrialized nations.

What becomes of the molecular fragments of all these compounds when they mingle in the aquatic environment is unknown. Our lakes have become unsupervised laboratories conducting recombinant biochemistry in real time.

 
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Marine Plastic May Affect Growth Rates and Health of Fish - Despite the fact that plastic pollution is a relatively recent phenomena, the problem has reached the far corners of the global oceans. Most of the obvious plastic pollution is inshore, such as those seen on beaches and intertidal area, but most of the plastic is out of sight in remote locations.


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