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Contraceptive ring could pose risks after its disposal

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9:50am, January 22, 2003

Birth control may be having reproductive effects far beyond the bedroom. An analysis by a Swedish scientist suggests that discarded vaginal contraceptive rings could interfere with fishes' reproduction by releasing estrogen into streams.

Last fall, Joakim Larsson of Göteborg University in Sweden found that a used contraceptive patch can, if flushed down the toilet, shed estrogen into rivers that accept effluent from sewage-treatment facilities (SN: 10/19/02, p. 245: Contraceptive-Patch Worry: Disposal concern focuses on wildlife).

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