Polluted Bay, deformed fish

A new study from UC Davis researchers shows that baby striped bass hatched from female fish collected from San Franciso Bay contain pollutants including flame retardants, industrial chemicals and pesticides passed on from their mothers. The hatchlings had damaged brains and livers, and grew more slowly than fish raised in clean water in a hatchery.

“This is one of the first studies examining the effects of real-world contaminant mixtures on growth and development in wildlife,” said study lead author David Ostrach, a research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. He said the findings have implications far beyond fish, because the estuary is the water source for two-thirds of the people and most of the farms in California.

“If the fish living in this water are not healthy and are passing on contaminants to their young, what is happening to the people who use the water, are exposed to the same chemicals or eat the fish?” Ostrach said.

The research is published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. My colleague Sylvia Wright has pictures posted on her Facebook page.

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