Watch CBS News

Human Birth Control Chemical, BPA Cause Lower Fertility In Fish, Government Scientists Say

(CBS SF) – Newly-released research from U.S. government scientists found a chemical in birth control pills and the chemical BPA affects the fertility of fish. These chemicals often end up in waterways.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found that fish exposed to 17a- ethinylestradiol, also known as EE2, produced offspring that struggled to fertilized eggs, The Washington Post reported. The hormone's effects in fertility were also found in the grandchildren of the fish originally exposed.

EE2 is a major ingredient in oral contraceptives, and up to 68 percent of each dose is released in urine and excrement.

Researchers also determined that BPA, which is widely used in plastics, had a similar effect in reducing fertility in fish used for the research. Both EF2 and BPA are endocrine disruptors that interfere with hormones and cause developmental disorders.

"These adverse outcomes, if shown in natural populations, could have negative impacts on fish inhabiting contaminated aquatic environments," visiting USGS scientist Ramji Bhandari of the University of Missouri said in a statement.

A 2010 study by UCSF researchers disputes the effects of birth control pills in the water supply. They found waste from livestock, soy and dairy foods and other hormones contribute more estrogen into drinking water.

Scientists are also looking into the possibility of the two chemicals causing male smallmouth and largemouth bass to change into females.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.