Pesticide Turns Male Frogs Into Females

frogs

A commonly used pesticide known as atrazine can turn male frogs into females that are successfully able to reproduce, a new study finds.While previous work has shown atrazine can cause sexual abnormalities in frogs, such as hermaphroditism (having both male and female sex organs), this study is the first to find that atrazine’s effects are long-lasting and can influence reproduction in amphibians.

The results suggest that atrazine, which is a weed killer used primarily on corn crops, could have potentially harmful effects on populations of amphibians, animals that are already experiencing a global decline, said study author Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley. Atrazine is banned in Europe.And since atrazine interferes with the production of the sex hormone estrogen, present in people and frogs, the findings could have implications for humans as well. “If you have problems in amphibians, you can anticipate problems in other animals,” Hayes said.
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Weed Killer Affects Frogs Sexually

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The widely used weed killer atrazine affects the sexual development of frogs, raising questions about the effects of its use in the environment, the University of Ottawa said on Thursday.

A study by researchers at the university found that at low levels comparable to those measured in the Canadian environment, fewer tadpoles reached the froglet stage and the ratio of females to males increased.“Atrazine is one of the top-selling herbicides used worldwide and was designed to inhibit weed growth in cornfields,” the university said in a statement.

“It is so widely used that it can be detected in many rivers, streams and in some water supplies. This has raised the alarm on the possibility of other serious detrimental environmental effects.”Syngenta AG, a major Swiss manufacturer of atrazine, has long defended its safety. The company has said it is one of the best-studied herbicides available and pointed to previous safety reviews from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization, among others.

The EPA said in October that it was reviewing the health impacts of the herbicide. Some studies have tied it to birth defects, low birth weight and premature babies.


(source)

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