FoE lists top ten polluters of hormone disrupter chemicals

An ICI factory in Middlesborough is the UK's largest polluter of a group of chemicals that has been shown to change the sex of fish. The information was released on the first day of the course fishing season, 16 June, by Friends of the Earth (FoE).


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Basing its polluters’ list on Environment Agency figures, FoE continued to press the government to track pollution more comprehensively. “The Environment Agency only details pollution from the 1,500 largest factories,” said FoE. “It does not detail releases from smaller factories, agriculture or sewage treatment works, which are all potentially large sources of hormone-disrupting chemicals.”

The hormone-disrupting chemicals in questions are alkylphenols. They are no longer in domestic use in the UK, but are used in industrial detergents. FoE cites studies that show that wild male Roach have been feminised – eggs have been found in their testes – with the worst effects being seen in the River Aire in Yorkshire. FoE contends the river is heavily polluted with alkylphenols.

Research in Canada has indicated a link between use of pesticides containing alkylphenols and declines in the population of Atlantic Salmon.

Commenting on the timing of its hormone-disrupting polluters’ list, Dr Michael Warhurst, a pollution campaigner at FoE said: “Angling is the UK’s number one sport. It needs protection from the chemicals giants like ICI. Instead of ruining our rivers, these companies should spend more time and money promoting alternatives to dodgy chemicals.”

The FoE top-ten polluters of hormone-disrupting chemicals are as follows:

  • ICI Chemicals and Polymers, Middlesborough
  • Harlow Chemical, Grimsby
  • European Colour, Stockport
  • Viking Polymers, Batley
  • ICI Paints, Slough
  • Vinamul, Warrington
  • Croda Chemicals, Goole
  • European Vinyls, Cleveleys
  • A second Vinamul plant in Warrington
  • Croda Chemicals, Bradford

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