News of the WeekAmphibian Decline

Ubiquitous Herbicide Emasculates Frogs

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Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 447-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5567.447a

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The most heavily used herbicide in the United States makes hermaphrodites of male frogs at concentrations commonly found in the environment, a new laboratory study reports. Its authors urge looking more closely at the possible role of atrazine and similar pesticides in amphibian declines, although a causal role has yet to be demonstrated. Atrazine is banned in many European countries, and some scientists expect this study to influence the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing assessment of the chemical.