Thursday, August 11, 2005

Confused Fish?

Although my focus is Islamism, I have other interests too.

The following excerpt comes from August 7, 2005 edition of the Washington Post:

"Male fish from the upper reaches of the Potomac River are producing a blood protein normally found only in females, scientists say, seeming to confirm fears that an unknown pollutant is confusing the fish's natural hormone systems.

"This discovery, made by scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, comes on the heels of the finding last year that male fish in the same area were producing eggs...."

Male fish in the Potomac River are producing eggs? Has the world of wildlife gone as wacko as the human world? First, it was the Frankenfish, also known as "The Snakehead"; now scientists are investigating a hormonal upset.

According to the Washington Post article, no particular compound causing this unusual development has yet been identified. But the article says,


"Scientists say the most likely culprits could be nearby chicken farms, which produce manure full of chicken estrogen, and sewage plants, whose output can include hormones that are excreted from the human body."
I suppose that women on hormone replacement therapy need some kind of filter on their toilets. The manure from chicken farms (Perdue?) is another matter altogether.

13 Comments:

At 8/11/2005 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! I've heard about those fish.

-FJ

 
At 8/11/2005 11:56 AM, Blogger Regular Ron said...

Good lord,even male fish are going Liberal. He/she fishies, whats next Bears with boobs and pensis's?? lol

RR

 
At 8/11/2005 1:36 PM, Blogger TJ said...

IIRC - estrogen is harder / more expensive to 'clean' out of water than most other chemicals (including testosterone) ... so it tends to accumulate in recycled water supplies, or get flushed into rivers, etc. when expelled. Wish I knew where I am recalling that from ...


/TJ

 
At 8/11/2005 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it's probably a little too much oxytocin in the run-off. They need to dump in a few tons of vasopressin to counteract it. Either that, are start raising more "roosters" instead of all those "hens". But then again, hens always were easier to raise than roosters.

-FJ

 
At 8/11/2005 5:27 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Ron,
I just knew you'd be horrified. First, Marilyn. Now, fish in the Potomac. What a world!

 
At 8/11/2005 5:34 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

TJ and FJ,
You've pointed out the chemical issues, which confound me. I don't know much about biochemistry.

The fish gender-identification issue may not be easy to solve. I wonder what the long-term results will be for that particular species?

Personally, I try to avoid fish caught from the Potomac, but of course, the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay and on from there. Therefore, one never knows what dangers one might be consuming.

Since 1993, off and on, the sewage-treatment plants here suffer from problems and the news comes "Don't drink the water until or unless ________________. Of course, I usually don't hear the warnings until I've already consumed the water.

 
At 8/11/2005 6:16 PM, Blogger Gindy said...

Believe it or not I can picture it happening. When I lived up North for school (farm country)I never drank the tap water for a very good reason. Fertilizer that is used right at the river front.

 
At 8/11/2005 7:35 PM, Blogger David Schantz said...

One of the good points of the company I work for is the fact that we have our own waste treatment plant on the site, thats my job. All of the waste from the offices and from production area (we produce wet blue leather) goes through our pollution plant before it goes into the citys sewer system. Then it goes through the citys pollution plant.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

 
At 8/11/2005 10:43 PM, Blogger John said...

Maybe they should put a little viagra in the water.

 
At 8/12/2005 8:17 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

David,
I hope that the government-operated treatment plant in your area stays up and running. Around here, those facilities are not completely reliable. I tend to trust privately funded facilities more that I do the government ones, although I seem to recall some cases where there was "funny business" in private facilities as well, as in the movie "Erin Brokovich" (sp). Not that I'm implying that the company you work for would practice "funny business." You would know better than I about such matters. Such private facilities are expensive to operate, or so I've heard.

 
At 8/12/2005 8:20 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jay 777,
LOL! I've heard that Cialis has longer staying power, tnough.

 
At 8/15/2005 5:42 PM, Blogger Wintermute said...

Many basic plastic compounds have a molecular shape similar to estrogen. We have (for the most part) stopped using such plastics in products made for human consumption (thankfully), but many of these simple chemicals are still used in industry and dumped into rivers or other waterways. There was a similar case maybe ten years ago involving alligator populations (I think in florida) where males became feminized and females became masculinized (when they got extra estrogen-like chemicals their body compensated by upping their testosterone output). The male alligators grew hooks out of their penises in some instances, an unexpected and sterilizing result of unfettered pollution.

In regards to the trusting of private corporations over government in environmental issues, I think that is misguided. Government run facilities, if they are truly publicly run, have no motivation for secretly polluting. Private corporations have every motivation to pollute surreptitiously, provided the savings are large enough. In the never-ending quest for profit, nothing is sacred. Corporations only will obey the law in so far as it can make them money. If the potential cost of a fine and a small amount of bad publicity is less than the actual savings procured through excessivly and illegally polluting, any executive worth half his salary would choose to overpollute. That's what they teach you to do in business school. In fact, executives are under a legal obligation to shareholders to conduct illegal activities (such a cheap, illegal dumping of pollutants) if it will raise their profit margins.

Public institutions, on the other hand, are not commited to raking in a profit at all costs in an effort to please their stockholders, so they seem more trustworthy than any profit driven private corporation. Remember Enron? Do you think a government run institution would ever have done something like that? I don't.

 
At 8/15/2005 7:41 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Wintermute,
You are, of course, correct that private corporations have been guilty of polluting our waters.

But I have a distrust of government-run facilities as well. Here in the D.C. area, we've had numerous errors at the water-treatment plants operated by the government. Deliberate errors? Not as far as I've been able to discern. Careless errors? Yes. Coverup of the careless errors? Yes, most recently with regard to the release of testing results for lead in the water. I suspect that the motivation for the falsification was motivated by "keep-my-job." In sum, I've grown to distrust the annual water report.

Integrity and competency today seem to be sorely lacking in both the private and public sectors. You emphasize the lack of integrity in the private sector (true), and I emphasize the lack of integrity and attention to detail in the public sector. Both failures are unacceptable.

As to the confused fish in the Potomac, the research continues to see how far upstream this problem extends.

PS: Thanks for the information about plastics. Maybe the confused fish need a boost in testosterone? Just kidding!

 

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