Endocrine Disruptors: Major Minnesota research under way

A major Minnesota research project – paid for by the sales tax increase voters approved last year, and conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and St. Cloud State University – is investigating one of the newest, least understood and most troubling types of water pollution: Endocrine disrupting compounds.

The $896,000 project is sampling water at 22 sewage treatment plants around the state.

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A number of studies have shown the compounds “feminize” male fish. Some scientists suspect they also cause human ills such as decreased sperm counts, increased genital and urinary birth defects in boys and increases in obesity, diabetes and testicular cancer.

Follow these links to see a summary of other research on EDCs in Minnesota over the last 15 years and to read an interview with a Minnesota Health Department expert on the compounds and human health. Those articles, and others, appear in the September issue of Facets of Freshwater, the Freshwater Society’s quarterly newsletter.

Those other articles include:

  • Calendars in the Classroom. About 400 teachers throughout Minnesota are using the Minnesota Environment Weatherguide Calendar to teach science and other subjects to their kindergarten-fifth-grade students. The free curriculum was developed by the Jeffers Foundation in collaboration with the Freshwater Society.
  • Gene Merriam. Freshwater Society President Gene Merriam writes about his hopes and concerns about water quality and the 25-year stream of revenue created by passage of a constitutional amendment last year.
  • Passwords. Dick Gray, the principal founder of the Freshwater Society, recalls the weather almanac that evolved into the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendar.
  • Itasca. The University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Field Station and Laboratory celebrates its 100th birthday.