Environmental Group Pressing For Answers On Intersex Fish

By Sabri Ben-Achour WAMU 88.5
|  Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 PM EDT
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Environmental Group Pressing For Answers On Intersex Fish

Buddy Secor

The Potomac River

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Environmental groups and politicians are campaigning to find out why "intersex" fish continue to show up in the Potomac River and its tributaries.

It's been seven years since male bass in the Potomac were found to have eggs and egg precursors growing in their reproductive tissues.

"That is not normal, something is wrong," said Hendrik Belin, who heads the environmental group Potomac Conservancy. His group is launching a campaign to press for more research into the phenomenon.

"We're looking at the problem and we can solve it, but it's going to require greater public demand for answers," he said.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said he is trying to fund more research.

"The fish are invariably the canary in the coalmine, warning us about something," said Moran.

Scientists suspect that "something" is endocrine disruptors found in many household and agricultural products -- fertilizers, prescription drugs, antibiotic soaps. These compounds, even in trace amounts, are thought to affect fish's immune systems and development -- and they routinely show up in tests of municipal drinking water systems, including Washington's.

Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

Copyright 2010 WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. All Rights Reserved.

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