Artificial human hormone giving male fish female organs

A BBC report on its Country File programme on 17 March revealed that an artificial female hormone used in the human contraceptive pill could be responsible for reducing the fertility of male fish.


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According to the BBC, a five-year research project covering 10 rivers found that nearly half of all the male fish studied had eggs in their testes or female reproductive ducts, a quarter had damaged sperm, and one tenth were sterile. The BBC makes the connection between these findings, the fact that one third of the UK’s drinking water is abstracted from rivers, and the phenomenon of falling human sperm counts in the UK.

However, the Environment Agency and the water industry have denied that there is any threat to human health, and say that no such chemicals have been found in drinking water, says the BBC.

An Environment Agency spokesperson told edie that the BBC report missed out important aspects of the research, which will be published on 26 March. Until then, the Agency is unwilling to comment further. Details of the research will be in next week’s edie news service.

The ten watercourses included in the research were the Rivers: Lea in Hertfordshire, Blackwater in Essex, Arun in West Sussex, Avon in Bristol, Rea in Shropshire, Wreake in Leicestershire, Nene in the East Midlands, Ouse in North Yorkshire, Calder in West Yorkshire, and Aire, also in West Yorkshire.

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