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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Ag 101
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Antibiotics, Pesticides, and Hormones

Antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones are organic compounds which are used in animal feeding operations and may pose risks if they enter the environment. For example, chronic toxicity may result from low-level discharges of antibiotics and pesticides. Estrogen hormones have been implicated in the reduction in sperm counts among Western men (Sharpe and Skakkebaek, 1993) and reproductive disorders in a variety of wildlife (Colburn et al., 1993). Other sources of antibiotics and hormones include municipal wastewaters, septic tank leachate, and runoff from land-applied sewage sludge. Sources of pesticides include crop runoff and urban runoff.

Little information is available regarding the concentrations of these compounds in animal wastes, on their fate/transport behavior and bioavailability in waste-amended soils. These compounds may reach surface waters via runoff from land-application sites.

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