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Environmental Advocates Seek Government Help For Intersex Fish Research

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Some citizens' groups are petitioning the federal government for help in determining why certain fish in the Potomac River continue to show developmental abnormalities.

Approximately 80 percent of male small mouth bass in the Potomac have a condition known as intersex, it's where they grow female reproductive tissues in their sex organs.

It's not clear why, but the main suspect is something humans are leaking into the water. It could be residues from anything from antidepressants to birth control or old prescriptions flushed down the toilet.

Scientists have found that aquatic life can be affected by incredibly low levels of such compounds--so low that only recent technology could even detect them. But they don't have a more specific answer at this point.

The environmental advocacy group the Potomac Conservancy has submitted 5,000 signatures to Virginia Representative Jim Moran in hopes of increasing funding to research the problem.

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