Everything changed for Dr. Tyrone Hayes when in 1998, the largest chemical company in the world asked him to use his expertise to determine if the company's top-selling product interfered with the hormones of frogs.
The company: Syngenta. The product: weedkiller atrazine.
Hayes, an American biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley, discussed in his nearly 16-minute TEDxBerkeley talk the results of exposing African clawed frogs in his lab to atrazine. Hayes explained how after exposure to atrazine, frogs that were genetic males became completely functioning reproductive females. In another frog species, he showed the gonads with “eggs that are bursting through the surface of the male’s testes.”
Hayes took this research to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but they said, “that’s not really an adverse effect that would stimulate us to reassess the chemical.”