Fish swim in a soup with ingredients that include low levels of pesticides with chemicals such as atrazine, mood-control pharmaceuticals and birth-control pills with powerful hormonal components that don't easily break down.
At a time when young bass are most vulnerable and sensitive to chemicals, the first couple of weeks of life in late May early June, farmers are preparing their land for planting by spreading manure with natural hormones that could cause intersex fish, Blazer said.
But all the talk about cross-gender fish misses the point, she said.
"Obviously I care about the environment, but the fish is an indicator that something else is really wrong," she said.
"But what are these things doing to the natural environment? If we find these things in wild organisms, there's a good chance they're also affecting people. People are spraying these pesticides and herbicides around their homes. All of those things we tend not to think about because of our lifestyle."