By Summer Williamson and Adaline Bisese
Male frogs are being exposed to chemicals from pesticides in their natural ecosystems due to human error that causes them to become feminized and develop homosexual tendencies. In an experiment with eighty male frogs, forty of them showed homosexual tendencies while forty did not. The forty frogs displaying this disposition were all exposed to the chemical, atrazine. Atrazine is the second most used pesticide in the United States as well as other parts of the world. The frogs showing homosexual tendencies were exposed to a level of atrazine the government deems safe. In other words, the level of atrazine present in the frogs is the same level that can be found in drinking water.
Atrazine is an endocrine disrupting toxin. In translation, it effects the hormones inside the organisms it comes in contact with. Along with causing homosexuality in frogs, endocrine disrupting toxins, such as atrazine, can actually change the gender of frogs. Frogs exposed to atrazine are found with feminine physical features such as a larger body, and even a female reproductive system.
Feminized frogs generally have outward female characteristics, but are internally male. In the experiment, 10% of all frogs became feminized. A feminized male frog will have both X and Y chromosomes rather than just an X. Therefore the frog is biologically a male. These feminized frogs can lay eggs and raise healthy babies, but the problem is, they only produce male offspring. The frogs also lay less eggs than what a typical female frog does which may create more complications for the global population of frogs.
Along with its effects on frogs, atrazine is known to disrupt the activity of other animals. Fish are highly susceptible to the chemical because of the large concentration of atrazine found in the water. The chemical is carried from crop fields and gardens that use the pesticide by means of runoff, evaporation, and precipitation into the watershed. Atrazine can potentially wash from farms into rivers, lakes, and streams, all of which flow into our oceans. This causes huge issues as animals and humans consume the harmful chemical through our drinking water and puts us all at risk.
Atrazine also affects plants beyond the intended area of use. Plants and wildlife are killed by the chemicals in areas surrounding the crops. Death of much needed foliage causes erosion and a scarcity of food for animals and insects. In places with long wet seasons, landslides are common as a result of this lack of growth. The absence of vegetation amplifies the destruction caused by natural disasters.
Despite washing produce prior to consumption, pesticides such as atrazine and glyphosate can not be easily cleaned from the exterior of crops. Therefore, people are regularly eating these harmful chemicals without even being aware of their effects. The same chemicals known to feminize frogs are consumed by millions daily. Currently there are no publicized negative effects on humans, it is only a matter of time before we experience the detrimental cause from the massive usage of these chemicals.
In addition to pesticides, GMOs are produced and consumed in large quantities. GMOs, genetically modified organisms, are created in laboratory settings by breeding favorable characteristics in organisms that would naturally not possess that certain trait. Corn, for instance, is genetically engineered to protect against pests and a type of worm that infests the plant. Soy beans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, and sugar beets have all been modified to withstand a range of pesticides that would naturally kill the crops. On animal studies, GMOs have been discovered to damage organs, lead to gastrointestinal and immunes system disorders, accelerate aging, and infertility. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine strongly encourages doctors to promote non-GMO diets.
The enormous increase of pesticides has started to lead to pesticide resistant crops. This means that over time plants have built up the same tolerance to atrazine or glyphosate as the genetically modified crops have. This only causes a larger need for more pesticides which only harms the environment further.
This is only good news for the six companies (monopolies) that control nearly the entire world’s GMO and pesticide market. The more genetically modified organisms and pesticides needed to maintain crops, the more money going into their hands. Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont) currently head the genetically modified industry. They also control 70% of the pesticides sold globally. They have restricted any and all studies done by independent research organizations on their seeds. Interesting.
Deadly pesticides have been discovered to have dangerous and destructive effects on humans, plants, and animals across the United States and the globe. Frogs are merely definite proof of this, however, they are not the only concern. Numerous experiments have been done using the most common pesticides: glyphosate, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, metolachlor, and metam sodium. All have been proven to have negative health effects, even in the small doses deemed safe for consumption by the EPA. The continuous and excessive usage of these chemicals may lead to the rapid deterioration of many species beyond the realm of frogs.