Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 11.3 million monthly unique users)
"The Pill Off The Hook For River Estrogen"
Until recently, humans took the blame for unusually high levels of estrogen-like chemicals in rivers, lakes and streams. Some thought it was birth control pills but other evidence pointed to agricultural wastes. But, new research suggests a form of algae may be contributing to the problem, which can cause males of some fish, amphibians, and reptiles change behaviors and even develop female physical characteristics. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, caused responses in zebrafish similar to those caused by estrogen-like chemicals, the results of the study were published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The researchers found that young fish exposed to blue-green algae showed a chemical marker known to result from estrogen exposure. The marker didn't show up when the fish were only exposed to the known toxin that the blue-green algae produce. So the scientists think there must be a previously-unknown chemical released by the algae that caused the estrogen-like effects. That means that algae blooms, or sudden large bursts of algae growth, could have even greater health consequences for animals