Tuesday, March 18, 2008

not drinking the water may not help anyway

"Don't drink the water" is a reasonable thing to say to a human about a contaminated body of water. It's cold comfort for a fish, which has no choice but to swim through those waters.

Scientists are looking at a body of water that "contains an array of man-made chemicals that could play havoc with animals' hormone systems". That would be the Potomac River, the source of drinking water for the Washington DC area. And these chemicals are, among other things, causing male fish to grow eggs.

Scientists at a recent conference on the chemicals in the Potomac said there was "no evidence" of harm to humans.

Of course, there is also no evidence that these endocrine disruptors do NOT harm humans. In fact, with falling sperm counts happening in humans around the world, I think it is more logical to assume that chemicals that screw with fishes' reproductive systems are likely to be similarly harmful to humans' reproductive systems.

I'd like here to offer a suggestion how you can avoid these chemicals. But seeing as how they are found in isolated places like Inuit communities in the Arctic, I have no real good short-term suggestions, apart from avoiding giving foods like fish that have high concentrations of chemicals to pregnant women or young children.

In the long term of course, what might be smart would be if we quit spewing that crap into the environment. Not just because we're a nice species that gives a shit about fishes and plants and all that. But also because this crap ends up back with us anyway.



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