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Science
COSTING THE EARTH
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Costing the Earth tells stories which touch all our lives, looking at man's effect on the environment and at how the environment reacts. It questions accepted truths, challenges the people in charge and reports on progress towards improving the world we live in.
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 28 April
PRESENTER
TOM HEAP
Tom Heap
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Thursday 28 April 2005
Sheep and lambs
How does sewage sludge affect sheep?

Toxic Shock

Costing the Earth investigates whether chemicals in the environment are more hazardous than previously thought. Researchers have found that certain industrial chemicals, known as endocrine-disrupters, can alter animal behaviour, even at levels which are so low that there is no trace of them in the animal's body. It's thought that these very low doses can alter brain development in the womb. In general, the effect is to make male animals behave like females. Scientists in the Netherlands have also done research with children which suggests that fetal exposure to these chemicals in the mothers' bloodstream, even at low levels, can alter children's play behaviour years later.

Other scientists have carried out research on mice which suggests that exposure to very low levels may be as harmful, or possibly more harmful, than the high levels which are traditionally used to evalute chemical safety. But the research is controversial, and scientists working in industry have been unable to replicate these results. According to one British expert, it is "one of the hottest topics in chemicals testing" today.
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