Involuntary sex change

Male ocean fish are taking on female characteristics due to hormone-altering chemicals found in contaminated water, according to a study conducted by a Southern California toxicologist and reported in the Los Angeles Times. The majority of the contaminated water comes from sewage treatment plants, which only remove 50-70 percent of the hormone-altering chemicals.

The study found that hormone-altering chemicals cause male fish to develop female characteristics, such as high levels of the female hormone estrogen, as well as egg-producing proteins.

A number of various commercial products, as well as pharmaceuticals, are to blame for the hormone-altering chemicals. These chemicals are found in beauty products, flame retardants, plastic additives and various drugs, such as birth control, antidepressants and tranquilizers.

The majority of the contaminated water comes from the 1 billion gallons of partially treated sewage water that flows into the ocean every day.