June 21, 2012
A local mining company was petitioning the EPA to relax its standards about how much selenium it can leave in the water, as opposed to cleaning the area up. (Selenium can cause birth defects in animals.) So, along with a picture of a two-headed baby trout found in the area, they put in a picture of a two-headed baby trout that had not been caused by the selenium (it came from a different part of the country) and said, “See? This can happen anywhere!”
Unfortunately for them, the two-headed trout caught the attention of scientists and environmentalists, who found, tucked away in an appendix of the study, pictures of other deformed trout from this area, and concluded that the company was grossly understating the mutation rate. So now the appeal won't be the shoo-in the company was hoping for.