News & Politics

Atrazine: Will Frog Gender Panic Get It Banned?


People have been worried awhile about atrazine, a very common weed-killer (and groundwater contaminant) that has been associated with spina bifida, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, etc. But growers like atrazine, so the EPA has gone gentle with it in the recent past, though the Obama EPA started looking harder at it in October.

Now researchers have found something that may attract the interest even of folks who thought their Wheat Thins were worth an outside chance of cancer or deformity: Atrazine has been found to turn male frogs female.

And we don’t mean “living as a woman,” either; the affected frogs not only sent mating signals to male frogs, but also developed both internal and external “reproductive organs typical of females” — and were able to fertilize eggs.

This only happened in 10 percent of the atrazine-dunked frogs under study — a genetic predisposition is suspected — and frogs live in contaminated water, whereas we just drink it. Plus, the industry’s researchers deny everything. But when word gets around, as is already starting to happen among even environmentalism-adverse news outlets (“LGBTF? Pesticide Turns Male Frogs into Females” — Fox News), you might see some new faces at the next atrazine protest. Butch American men who don’t give a shit about global warming may yet balk at even the remote prospect of growing lady-parts.

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