Researchers from Yale University have discovered that suburban lake frogs are found in ratios of far more female than males due to issues of estrogen waste products affecting their growth.
The scientists studied frogs gathered out of 21 ponds in Connecticut to do the study. They found that frogs from more populated areas tended to have many more females in the ponds than frogs gathered living in forest areas less populated by humans.
Some Frogs Have Hermaphroditic Characteristics
The frogs examined by the research team found suburban male frogs that had both testicles and eggs, giving them hermaphroditic characteristics. It is thought that this find could be linked to chemicals that are endocrine-disrupting such as herbicides used to kill weeds, etc.
in urban areas.
This means that the wastes and runoff from suburban areas are chemicals like the herbicide atrazine. Much of the work in this area has focused on agricultural chemicals from farms and other industries. This is one of the first studies to suggest that estrogenic wastes from suburban homes and yards are apparently affecting suburban lake frogs and could be affecting the genes of other animals, as well.
Study Finds Phytoestrogens Causing Suburban Lake Frogs Deformities
The study found that there were large amounts of phytoestrogens in the suburban ponds and lakes where the deformed frogs were found. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen, which causes problems in the frog’s sexual development, and could also ultimately cause this to happen in other animals and even humans.
The study also found traces of estrogenic chemicals known as estrones that humans and animals excrete normally, but no estrogens such as the kind used to produce birth control pills were seen in the waters.
Instead, it is believed the chemicals are coming from yards and from sewer and septic tank leaks.
Study Gives Warning of Collateral Damage to Ecosystems
The study on the green frogs may seem trivial to some, but the scientists say that it should give people pause to be concerned about collateral damage we are doing to ecosystems. Frogs are a sensitive animal that easily show bio-indicators of what is going on in their ecosystem and can give warning for deeper issues on chemical pollution.
The findings of the study is that suburban lake frogs are producing more females or causing frogs to have both male and female characteristics due to estrogen waste and chemical pollution from herbicides and other materials used to maintain suburban lawns and landscaping.