New Study Finds Urban Pollution, Not Atrazine to Blame for Frog Abnormalities

A Yale University publication, Yale 360 Environment has been getting some publicity lately due to a new study that contradicts what many anti-atrazine activists have been saying for years. The study, lead by David K. Skelly, professor of ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, found that the highest rates of frog deformities were occurring in urban, not rural areas. Skelly’s study shows that the deformities are “almost certainly” not caused by one single chemical, but rather a combination of substances, including medicines and plastics.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say about the study:

Deformities in frogs in the northeastern United States are far more common in suburban and urban areas, not in and around farmlands, a Yale ecologist’s research shows. The findings upend the conventional wisdom that agricultural pesticides are largely responsible for the abnormalities. Rather, the combination of many household chemicals, including pharmaceuticals and plastics that mimic hormones, appear to be the root cause.

The Guardian had this to say:

For the last two decades, strange things have been happening to frogs. Some frog populations have high rates of limb deformities, while others have high incidences of what is known as “intersex” — traits associated with both males and females, such as male frogs whose testes contain eggs.

David K. Skelly, professor of ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, set out to discover what was causing these deformities, which some researchers were attributing to the use of an agricultural pesticide called atrazine. Skelly launched an experiment in ponds throughout Connecticut, studying frogs in four landscapes: forests, agricultural areas, suburbs, and cities. And what he found was surprising — the highest rates of deformities were not occurring in and around farmlands, but in cities and suburbs.

Read the rest of this article here.