Pollution = deformed frogs, debunked

I heard today during a newsbreak on my local radio station that the assumed link between amphibian deformities in the US and pollution had been disproved in a majority of cases. Apparently it’s the result of some sort of infestation of parasitic nematodes. I’ve been looking around the web for confirmation and possibly pointers to the study without success (everything seems a little dated). Does anyone know where the study was conducted, who conducted it, or possibly pointers to news articles or the name of the paper in which the study was published?

I recall hearing the same thing. I don’t know for sure, but I believe it was reported in “Nature”.

True, with clarification.

“Pollution causes deformities” sounds good on a poster. However, it does not necessarily follow that all deformities are caused by pollution. “Nematodes cause deformities” also sounds good. However, that doesn’t mean that all deformities are caused by nematodes.

Pollution is also a very vague term. Air pollution? Water pollution? Excess ultra violate rays indirectly caused by pollution? What type of pollutant? Endocrine disrupters? And so on. If there are deformities, and a particular pollutant that was suspected is found not to be the cause, that does not mean that there is no anthropogenic source of the deformity.

I am not saying that the sky is falling, mind you. I just dislike over generalized news reports (not complaining about the OP, but the source of the OP’s question) that appear dismissive of problems without a good understanding of the background issues.

I’ll sit back and wait for the various 'olgists to chime in.


But the increase in the trematode population is being caused by the increased pollution in the water system.

This is a cached version of the article: www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-exp-deformed-frogs0505may05.story%3Fcoll%3Dsns-ap-science-headlines+%22Worms+May+Cause+Frog+Deformities%22&hl=en]Worms May Cause Frog Deformities

Before the 'ologists chime in, perhaps you’d like the perspective of an 'obbyist.

While other things had been done in the past, the Department of the Interior vigorously reignited its investigation into this matter with much fanfare on or about February 24, 1999.

Why is this date significant? Because on February 22, 1999, federal judge Royce Lamberth placed Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in contempt of court for failling to produce documents essential to sorting out the Indian Trust Fund Scandal.

My PR buddies tried like hell to nail Babbitt to the wall for this flagrant attempt at damage control, but the frogs won, and the Indians are still ripped off.

Just thought you’d be interested in that astounding confluence of events.

Everything I read by scientists studying the deformities was extremely cautious and would mention possible causes without singling one out. It was all “there’s this real odd thing going on and maybe we should start some studies to find out why”. Given that weird stuff was found at rather remote locations, pollution, in fact, was not considered the top guess. It isn’t even clear that the seriuous drop off in frog population and the deformities were related. (The odds are quite high they are, but the scientists were not able to make a definite statement.)

I do not know what studies evilhanz (or his source) was reading that stated there was a presumption. Perhaps citations to scientific papers could be provided?

(Otherwise, it is basically a straw man argument.)

Exactly. That’s the reason for my question. I’d like to see the source or a study so I can examine the methodology and conclusions drawn by the scientists rather than the simplified proclamations of a ten second news report. I fixed kirk’s link. That’s a start. Thanks, kirk!