Among estrogenic pollutants, by far the worst offender is 17-alpha ethinyl estradiol, the most common estrogen in oral contraceptives used by tens of millions of women. This synthetic steroid is of necessity non-biodegradable, at least by human liver. Otherwise, it would not work as a pill.
Joel Brind City University of New York New York, N.Y.
From the Nature Index
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.