If you and your family still drink water right out of the tap, you might want to reconsider in light of a new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). For the past several years, we’ve been warning our readers that pharmaceutical drug residues persist in unfiltered tap water, and the USGS has now confirmed that birth control drugs are among those present, threatening a possible widespread infertility epidemic in the coming years.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the USGS study looked at the effects of the synthetic hormone 17a-ethinylestradiol, or EE2, a common additive in most contraceptive pills, on Japanese medaka fish exposed to it through drinking water during their first week of development. Although the exposed fish and their immediate offspring appeared to be unaffected by the drugs, the second generation was affected.
According to the National Catholic Register, the second generation of exposed medaka fish experienced difficulty fertilizing their eggs, suffering an astounding 30 percent reduction in reproduction capacity. Their embryos were also much less likely than those of their parents to survive. Those that did survive, representing the third generation of fish, also suffered the effects of exposure to 17a-ethinylestradiol, showing a 20 percent impairment in fertility and survival rates.