Something strange is happening on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reservation in Canada, just across the border from Michigan: many more girls are being born than boys, and the reason might be toxic pollution ...
The steepest sex ratio declines observed in the world have occurred on the 3,000-acre Aamjiwnaang (pronounced AH-jih-nahng) First Nation reservation in Canada.
The ratio of boys to girls there began dropping in the early 1990s, according to data published in 2005 in Environmental Health Perspectives. Between 1999 and 2003, researchers found, only 46 boys were born out of 132 recorded births.
"You get angry and you get worried, thinking what could be causing this," said Ada Lockridge, a member of the tribe who compiled the data and has since become an activist. "And then you want to learn more."
Dozens of petrochemical, polymer and chemical plants border the reservation on three sides. Mercury and PCBs contaminate the creek that runs through the land, and air-quality studies show the highest toxic releases in Canada, said Jim Brophy, executive director of Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, based in Sarnia, the nearest city.
Several months ago, Brophy and co-worker Margaret Keith did additional calculations, finding that boys made up only 42 percent of the 171 babies born from 2001 to 2005 to Aamjiwnaang living on the reserve or nearby.
"A disruption in the sex ratio of this magnitude has to be taken seriously," Brophy said.
Link (Photo: Heather Stone / Tribune)