Two-headed fish from selenium poisoning? They're here!!

The news has broken that selenium from phosphate mining in Idaho has triggered grotesque mutations in fish in Idaho creeks, notably two-headed fish.  This story was first broken by Patrick Porgans, a California State Water Resources Control Board watchdog and top notch investigator.  He had been sitting on the story for months in order to protect his sources.  Porgan's detailed report can be found at his website:

A Reuters News Service article on the two-headed fish, reprinted at the Scientific American magazine website, can also  be found at

There is growing evidence that the Idaho fish deformities have been covered up for some time by the phosphate fertilizer industry, evoking memories of the coverup at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in 1983 when Interior Department officials kept quiet news that selenium-caused deformities in bird embryos had been discovered in Westlands Water District farm drainage water.  Impacts on fisheries have also been documented in creeks near coal mining operations in recent years. Meanwhile, 30 years after the Kesterson selenium discoveries, the federal government still has not established selenium safety standards for aquatic and riparian habitats.  And, of course, it was 1949 when famed U.S. Geological Survey superscientist David Love warned in a memo that irrigation of high selenium soils in the American West could trigger a massive environmental crisis.  Love's warning was ignored.

We shall keep an eye on this unfolding disaster.