News > Events > Riverkeeper Events > Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Insights from Two Scientists

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Insights from Two Scientists

March 9, 2016: 6:00PM to 9:00PM
SUNY New Paltz, Lecture Center, LC100, New Paltz, NY map
The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge

The Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, Dan Shapley / Riverkeeper

Tyrone Hayes and Luke Iwanowicz will present information about their research into the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on wildlife at events in back-to-back lectures at SUNY New Paltz on March 9.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals have effects on body systems at very small levels because they mimic hormones, such as estrogen.

The New Paltz event is presented by SUNY New Paltz’s School Of Science and Engineering, Biology Department and Environmental Studies Department; Riverkeeper; the Wallkill River Watershed Alliance; and the New Paltz Environmental Task Force.

Hayes, a well-known University of California-Berkeley scientist who regularly draws standing-room-only crowds, will present research about atrazine, a commonly used herbicide, and his research into its effects on amphibians. Iwanowicz, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist, will present research about intersex fish found in the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge and other wildlife refuges throughout the Northeastern U.S., and context for understanding his latest findings.

(Hayes will also give a lecture March 10 at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh.)

More information about the talks:

The herbicide, atrazine is a potent endocrine disrupter that chemically castrates and feminizes exposed male amphibians. Further, atrazine exposure results in neural damage and hyperactivity and induces a hormonal stress response that leads to retarded growth and development, and immune suppression. The immune suppression results in increased disease rates and mortality. Though many factors likely contribute to amphibian declines, pesticides (such as atrazine) likely play an important role even in populations that appear to decline for other reasons, such as disease. Pesticides like atrazine are ubiquitous, persistent contaminants and, though more pronounced in amphibians, the effects described above occur in all vertebrate classes (fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals) examined, via common mechanisms. These observations demonstrate the critical impact that pesticides have on environmental health. Furthermore, reproductive cancers and birth defects associated with exposure to many of these same chemicals (e.g. atrazine) via identical mechanisms demonstrate that the impact on environmental health is an indicator of a negative impact on public health. Many of these mechanisms are being revealed only now in the scientific literature and agencies are just now beginning to deal with this emergent science and translate it efficiently into health-protective policies. In particular, ethnic minorities and lower socio-economic communities are at risk: More likely to live in contaminated communities, work in occupations that increase hazard exposure and less likely to have educational and healthcare access. Given the importance of this science and relevance to public health, there is a strong need to translate this information and provide public access to this knowledge. Command of the science and active involvement by the public in policy decisions is vital.

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member