Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

step away from that water fountain!

Male Bass Across Region Found to Be Bearing Eggs

Abnormally developed fish, possessing both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River in the District and in tributaries across the region, federal scientists say -- raising alarms that the river is tainted by pollution that drives hormone systems haywire. ...

The cause of the abnormalities is unknown, but scientists suspect a class of waterborne contaminants that can confuse animals' growth and reproductive systems. These pollutants are poorly understood, however, leaving many observers with questions about what the problems in fish mean for the Potomac and the millions of people who take their tap water from it.

"I don't know, and I don't think anybody knows, the answer to that question right now: Is the effect in the fish transferable to humans?" said Thomas Jacobus, general manager of the Washington Aqueduct, which processes Potomac water to provide drinking water for residents of the District, Arlington County and Falls Church.

[from page 2 of this article]:

Even less understood -- both in the Potomac and around the world -- is how these pollutants affect human health.

In 1996, Congress required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help answer that question by developing a screening program to identify which chemicals are endocrine disruptors. Ten years later, the agency hasn't tested a single chemical, officials said. Environmental groups have accused the EPA of proceeding too slowly. Agency officials have defended their efforts by saying the research has been more complex than expected.

"I would have hoped it would have been faster, but this is a very difficult program," said Clifford Gabriel, director of the EPA's Office of Science Coordination and Policy. "We want to make sure we get the science right."

In the area, at least four drinking-water utilities -- the Washington Aqueduct, Fairfax Water, the Frederick County authority and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which serves Montgomery and Prince George's counties -- take water from the Potomac. That has prompted some environmentalists to worry about problems in tap water, in light of the intersex problems in fish.

"If they can't tell us what the problem is," said Ed Merrifield, executive director of a group called Potomac Riverkeeper, "then how can they tell us that they've taken it out of the water?"

There's hardly anything I can add to this except a profound "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" First the male largemouth bass. Then what, the male largemouth humans?

Contact EPA Region 3 at this link to let them know that NO you don't in fact want human males laying eggs so test the flippin water already.


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