Thursday, September 18, 2008

Estrogen Levels Skyrocket In River Around Montreal: Researchers

From The CBC:

Scientists have noticed some disturbing changes in the water, and the reproductive organs of fish, in the St. Lawrence River near Montreal.

Concentrations of estrogen as high as 90 times the normal rate have been discovered just downstream from the island of Montreal, according to researchers from l'Université de Montreal.

"What we measured is about 100 times more than the level known to have significant endocrine-disrupting effects," said Sébastien Sauvé, a professor of environmental chemistry at the university.

While researchers found estrodiol, a naturally occurring hormone that all women — particularly pregnant ones — release, they discovered synthetic estrogenic compounds as well.

"They're really pharmaceuticals which are used either as contraceptives or in hormone replacement therapy," Sauvé said.

Sauvé said even though HRT use has dropped dramatically in Quebec in the past few years, what ends up in the wastewater is still significant. Some compounds are filtered out at the sediment plant, but most ends up in the St. Lawrence.

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