Fish Are Becoming Intersex in the UK
Bodies of water remain as nature’s shadiest hiding spots with this super odd occurrence turning male freshwater fish in the U.K. intersex, meaning they display signs of both female and male sexes. With that said, the culprit is not the mysterious depths of England’s rivers, but rather, what is being flushed into them through household drains. So yes, harmful human waste does directly impact our surrounding environment and its inhabitants. Shocking!
What does this mean for your fish sticks? Probably nothing. What does this mean for the plot of Disney’s classic, The Little Mermaid? Hopefully nothing. What does this mean for the innocent fish affected by harmful chemicals? Keep reading.Apparently, chemicals from contraceptive pills, cleaning products, plastics and cosmetics are all causing male river fish to display female traits and even produce eggs. Can it get more fucked up than that? Yes, it appears so. According to Professor Charles Tyler at the University of Exeter, contact to these harmful chemicals even have the potential to affect the offspring of the intersex fish, making them even more sensitive to future exposures. So, not only is the general well-being of living organisms at stake, but also that of the unborn.
Tests across 50 different sites have shown that an entire fifth of the male freshwater fish population has been impacted, displaying female traits from exposure to estrogen in the waters. Good job, humanity. With the aim of making things less depressing, but only making them worse in this case, traces of antidepressants have also been found to have major impacts on the river fish’s natural behaviors. So, it seems, as we voluntarily alter our own homeostases, we do so well to those of our favorite sea creatures, while simultaneously depriving them of any choice in the matter.
Image courtesy of BBC.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on the human race’s side effects to nature.