US pesticides to be tested for gender bending chemicals

Pesticides used in the USA are to be screened for the first time to see if they might be disrupting the reproductive systems of humans and animals.

Many industrial substances contain endocrine disruptors - chemicals which affect growth, metabolism and reproduction.

These 'gender bending' chemicals have been held responsible for a multitude environmental problems throughout the world.

Their use is widely regulated and now the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking into how pesticides might altering fertility and reproduction in agricultural areas.

The EPA has drawn up a list of 67 possibly suspect chemicals used in pesticides and will be contacting those companies which produce them to provide product samples for testing over the summer.

The list was developed on the basis of exposure potential and the EPA is warning against panic, saying it should not be construed as a list of known or likely endocrine disruptors.

The listed pesticide chemicals were selected because there is high potential for human exposure through food and water, residential activity, or agricultural pesticide application.

"Endocrine disruptors can cause lifelong health problems, especially for children," said EPA administrator Lisa P Jackson.

"Gathering this information will help us work with communities and industry to protect Americans from harmful exposure."

Sam Bond


agriculture | pesticides


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