(CNN) -- Atrazine, a weed killer widely used in the Midwestern United States and other agricultural areas of the world, can chemically "castrate" male frogs and turn some into females, according to a new study.
New research suggests the herbicide may be a cause of amphibian declines around the globe, said biologists at the University of California-Berkeley, who conducted the study. The findings are being published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers found that long-term exposure to low levels of atrazine -- 2.5 parts per billion of water -- emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
"The effects of atrazine in the long term have been shown to demasculinize or chemically castrate [frogs], combined with complete feminization of some animals," said lead researcher Tyrone B. Hayes, a biologist and herpetologist at the University of Berkeley.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Not A Joking Matter
It is really hard not to make some crack about sudden impulses to buy a purse or adding more color to your wardrobe but the matter is really serious. Unless you pay attention to the farm/garden organic food world you probably never heard of atrazine. It's a herbicide that has been banned in Europe but is still used widely in the American Midwest, primarily for corn. Some 60 MILLION pounds of it 2008. New research shows that it is having a big affect on amphibians, most notably frogs. Researchers found that long-term exposure to low levels of atrazine -- 2.5 parts per billion of water -- emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. If the two hormones in question look familiar then you may know why spraying so much of this crap on a good portion of the Midwest might be a problem for us humans as well. A 2006 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found atrazine in approximately 75 percent of stream water and about 40 percent of all groundwater samples from agricultural areas tested between 1992 and 2001.