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E-M:/ Pitt expert's work targets pesticides' ecological risks

Next to Pymatuning Reservoir in northwestern Pennsylvania are 700 water-filled tanks that may provide the answer to just how risky pesticides are to the environment and human health.

The tanks are filled with tadpoles, and University of Pittsburgh ecologist Rick Relyea has used them over the past several years to show how lethal many of the most commonly used pesticides are, even in concentrations below allowable levels.

Over the last four years, Dr. Relyea and his colleagues have shown how ubiquitous chemicals like the weedkiller Roundup, malathion and endosulfan kill off large proportions of some frog species and may be contributing to the worldwide decline in the amphibian population.

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