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NatureScience

Pesticides Cause Thousands of Fish to be Born With Two Heads

Water contamination by toxic chemicals appears to be the cause of a mutation which resulted in the deaths of thousands of bass larvae in Australia. The two headed fish survived a mere 48 hours before dying off en masse.

Dr. Matt Landos of the Australian College of Veterinarian Sciences specializes in aquatic animals, and says that this is the first time he has ever seen anything like this. He sees no natural explanation for the deaths and is pinning the likely cause on the chemicals being used by a local macadamia nut plantation.

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The plantation nearly surrounds the fish farm, and deformities in fish have been increasing along with the plantation’s expansion. Fish, sheep, and chickens at the hatchery are also experiencing a rise in birth defects and still born fetuses. Furthermore, tests have been done on the dead fish larvae to rule out death by virus or bacteria.

Landos says that “the timing between the mist spraying and the affected larvae fits hand in glove”.

The chemicals in question include carbendazim, which over 50 countries including the US have stopped using. New Zealand is set to ban the chemical’s use, as it has been linked to cancer and other birth defects.

The Queensland government is asking that people not jump to conclusions, but given the thoroughness of Dr. Landos’s report, it is hard to imagine what other answers they expect us to come to. Will they need to see a two headed human baby in order to accept the facts?

Photo Credit: Greencolander on Flickr under Creative Commons license.




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