Project: Endocrine disruptors

“The endocrine system, whether it’s in us or in fish, really influences every part of our life.”

— Vicki Blazer, U.S. Geological Survey scientist

Unlike Wisconsin, Minnesota has been systematically testing its surface waters for endocrine disruptors and other chemicals of emerging concern. Lake Monona, Madison, in November 2012. Kate Golden/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism


WATER TREATMENT

20 years after fatal outbreak, Milwaukee leads on water testing

For the public officials who safeguard Milwaukee’s water, Cryptosporidium changed everything. Marion Ceraso reports. May 22, 2013


PROFILE

The hunt for endocrine disruptors

When Mark Ferrey started looking for endocrine disruptors in a dozen Minnesota lakes in 2007, he found them in every one — even the remote ones that were supposed to be pristine reference lakes. May 19, 2013


NEW RESEARCH

Studies: Endocrine disruptors, cocaine common in Minnesota waters

Two studies released May 13, 2013, by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency show widespread contamination of the state’s waters with trace amounts of endocrine disruptors and other chemicals — including cocaine in a third of the lakes. Environmental experts say that these findings increase pressure to conduct similar studies of Wisconsin’s waters. May 13, 2013


HEALTH EFFECTS

Experts avoid sounding the alarm on chemicals — but adjust their own habits

Federal and state governments have issued scant guidance on the risks hormone-disrupting chemicals pose to people, but University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatric endocrinologist Ellen Connor is not waiting for an official verdict. April 24, 2013


SCIENCE & POLICY

Concerns grow about hormone-disrupting chemicals in Wisconsin waters

Endocrine disruptors have been called a “global threat” to people and wildlife, but Wisconsin is lagging behind Minnesota in testing its waters for them. April 21, 2013
Plus: Environmental agencies answer questions about endocrine disruptors

The fathead minnow is a dull, common bait fish, but it has become an important species for research on endocrine disruptors. Here, fish are being raised for research at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency laboratory in Duluth, Minn. Kate Golden/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism


Primary sources

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Funding

Water Watch Wisconsin is supported by The Joyce Foundation. The Center’s endocrine disruptors coverage was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Fund for Environmental Journalism.

“You have to be very careful to be waving the red flag and alarming people at that level, because that’s not what we’re talking about. On the other hand, you have to be able to instill some of the disquiet that I feel about what these compounds might be doing at these concentrations.”

— Mark Ferrey, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency researcher

Links and resources