Research work lead by a researcher from the University of New Brunswick’s Canadian Rivers Institute has been named as one of its top 100 Science stories (number 51) of 2007. Karen Kidd‘s studies and subsequent publications on the effect of synthetic estrogen on fish populations is clearly demonstrating what we flush down the toilet (willingly or unwillingly) does have an effect on the environment.
By introducing estrogen to experimental lakes, it was observed that male minnows began producing eggs and female minnows had a very difficult time reproducing. The result of these effects was a quick decline and elimination of the minnow population in the lake. The implication is that similar effect would be observed on larger fish species over a longer period of time.
This study is deemed quite important because it has been shown that women who are on the pill or hormone replacement therapy will excrete estrogen in their waste. Since most water treatment plants do nothing to remove these chemicals, wastewater which is discharged back into the environment can still contain estrogen which as demonstrated in the experiment can be quite detrimental to fish reproductive cycles and populations.
It is nice to see the Karen Kidd, the Canadian Rivers Institute and UNB lead this world class research and be recognized by a national mainstream magazine for it.