updated 1/19/2007 4:57:57 PM ET 2007-01-19T21:57:57

Scientists may be closer to finding out why some male fish in the Potomac River also display some female characteristics.

They say several chemicals have been found in the river and in its tributaries, including a chemical that is banned in the U.S.

Government scientists have been looking at water samples from eight sites in West Virginia, and blood plasma from smallmouth bass. It's part of the investigation into an increase in what are called "intersex fish." Those are male fish that somehow are producing eggs.

They say they've found pesticides, flame-retardants, personal care products and a prohibited fungicide in the water or the fish.

The report says the contamination could come from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural activities and industrial wastewater.

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