Where are the boys?

Published: Friday 30 September 2005

Pollution has allegedly tipped the gender balance in the Chemical Valley community, living among chemical plants in southwest Ontario, Canada. A review of Aamjiwnaang First Nation birth records, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, says only about one third of the babies born in the area between 1999 and 2003 were males. The area houses Canada's largest bunch of chemical, allied manufacturing and research and development units.

Many researchers believe the industry is linked to the change. "...there appears to be some sort of influence on their reproductive ability...it is suspected they do have multiple exposures to environmental contaminants," says Constanze Mackenzie, a medicine student at the University of Ottawa, who led the study. Mackenzie also points at ongoing research that shows a similar phenomenon among local wildlife. The Canadian Chemical Producers' Association has urged further research.

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