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EPA to Regulate Gender Changing Fish Chemicals

02 July 2009

US - It took a lawsuit, but the EPA today announced the first step toward regulating a chemical that can cause male fish to develop female sex characteristics.

The chemical, nonylphenol ethloxylate (NPE), is used in cleaning products and detergents, writes JoAnn Blake, Examiner.

Studies show that NPEs can change the biology of male fish so they grow female eggs at very low levels, said Albert Ettinger of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, in a statement. “The EPA ignored these studies because there was insufficient evidence of the impact on fish reproduction.”

The EPA issued the "notice of proposed rulemaking" as part of a settlement of the lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club, Environmental Law and Policy Center, UNITE HERE, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations and Physicians for Social Responsibility filed in October 2007.

Accordin to Examiner, other well-known sources of estrogen and estrogen-mimicking compounds, also called "endocrine disruptors," are birth control pills, hormone replacements and hormones from livestock operations discharged from wastewater treatment plants.

Endocrine disruptors make fish more susceptible to disease and die-offs. In fact, that's how the mixed-sex fish were discovered -- researchers noticed a larger number of dead fish.

TheFishSite News Desk



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