|Like all animals, reptiles – including snakes, lizards, slow-worms, tortoises, turtles and crocodiles – are susceptible to endocrine disruption. In 1980 there was a major spillage of dicofol (a pesticide chemical relative of DDT) and other chemicals into Lake Apopka, Florida, USA. Over the following four years the alligator population fell by 90 per cent. Reduced male sex hormone levels were found in male alligators, and elevated female hormones in females. In addition, the ovaries of females, and the testes and penises of males, were abnormal.|
CHEM Trust report Effects of Pollutants on the Reproductive Health of Male Vertebrate Wildlife – Males Under Threat by Gwynne Lyons, details the effects in alligators in the USA and other de-masculinizing effects that have been noted in male turtles living in polluted areas. The report shows that male fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have been harmed by chemicals in the environment. Widespread feminisation of male vertebrate wildlife is highlighted. These findings add to mounting worries about the role of hormone-disrupting or so-called ‘gender-bending’ chemicals in the environment, and the implications for human health.