Chemicals in Our Bodies
A plastic 55 gallon barrell is seen amongst piles of driftwood and mud along the Potomac River in Cropley, Md., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006. Last year, volunteers removed nearly 218 tons of such trash from the Potomac watershed in a single day. Now the group that sponsors the annual cleanup has a new goal: a trash-free Potomac by 2013. Aided by the World Bank, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and some Yale University graduate students, the Alice Ferguson Foundation is pressing every municipality in the Potomac's four-state watershed to participate in a regional effort to banish litter from "the nation's river." (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)

A plastic 55 gallon barrel is seen among piles of driftwood and mud along the Potomac River in Cropley, Md., Feb. 8, 2006. (AP)

For years now, the stories have been piling up. Frogs and salamanders with extra legs. “Intersex fish,” neither male or female. Eighty percent of male smallmouth bass in the Potomac producing eggs.

And the apparent culprit: chemicals in the water — endocrine disruptors — that are also in our water and everyday household items.

Now scientists are tracking large increases in genital deformities in newborn boys, early-onset puberty in girls, obesity and diabetes in animals and humans, and warning that these, too, could have a chemical cause.

This hour, On Point: Danger in the water — endocrine disruptors, and their long reach.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us from Amherst, Mass., is R. Thomas Zoeller, professor and chair of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is one of the authors a 50-page scientific statement by the Endocrine Society, “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals,” which was cited by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in his column for Sunday, June 28. (Also see Kristof’s followup blog post on the topic.)

Joining us from Washington is Lynn Goldman, a pediatrician and epidemiologist. She is a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 1993 she was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, where she served for five years.

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May 26, 2016
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No more ’empty nest’. A third of millennials now live at home with their parents. We’ll look at what’s still pushing that trend.

May 26, 2016
This March 16, 2015 photo shows portraits of now-retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell, right, and his wife, Arasi, at their home in Crescent, Okla. Powell suffers from a psychological wound called "moral injury" after serving as an Army nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Arasi, also a soldier who served in Iraq, had received treatment for PTSD. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

In advance of Memorial Day, we’ll talk with Sebastian Junger about vets coming home and missing their “Tribe.” Plus, a WWII veteran remembers life on and off and the battlefield.

May 25, 2016
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Predictive policing. With violence on the rise, Chicago has turned to big data to predict gun and gang violence.

May 25, 2016
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