Gender-bending marine life

Nonylphenol ethoxylates(NPEs) are commonly found in detergents and other cleaning agents. They leave very little film behind, aren’t easily deactivated by hard water and are cheap to produce. Unfortunately, the chemicals are being rinsed down the drain and break down into toxic substances. NPEs mimic estrogen, and disrupt the endocrine system. According to the Sierra Club, “these chemical compounds cause organisms to develop both male and female sex organs; increase mortality and damage to the liver and kidney; decrease testicular growth, the formation of sperm, and testosterone levels in male fish; and disrupt normal male-to-female sex-ratios, metabolism, development, growth and reproduction”. The effects on humans are still unknown at this time. Read the Sierra Club’s petition to ban NPEs.

(Source: Seventh Generation Newsletter July 2007)

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