Chemicals in the Water Still Bending Genders

As the world starts to pause and recognize the importance, and often perilous state, of its water supply–from massive islands of plastic drifting in the ocean, to industrial runoff and poorly managed waste polluting lakes and rivers–it’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed. But, as disturbing the image of animal tangled in our discarded waste is, one less visible contaminant continues to wreak havoc on

aquatic ecosystems worldwide, and its implications are almost more troubling. For decades, substances found in many common products have found their way into our planet’s water and are altering the hormones of wildlife until, in some cases, it changes their sex entirely–and the same thing may be happening to us.

Although there has been a push to limit the presence of endocrine disrupters in the world’s ecosystems, research shows that it is still changing the sex of some aquatic organisms, which may continue to find its way into humans later on down the food chain. But sadly, it may take a measurable human toll to renew the fight for cleaner oceans, lakes, and streams–since few things make people more uncomfortable than undergoing an unsolicited sex-change.

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