The mayor of a small town in Peru is concerned that mineral levels in the water could lead to an increase in homosexuality, LGBT Asylum News reports.

José Benítez, the mayor of Huarmey, a coastal town in the Ancash Region of Peru, made the comment at the launch of a local project designed to increase access to water.

The town of Huarmey is famed for its abundant shrimp and long beaches, but the mayor has become concerned it may gain a different sort of reputation due to high levels of strontium in the tap water.

The metal, he claimed, reduces male hormones and could cause an increase in homosexuality among the population.

The water comes from Tabalosos, a town which a Lima-based television station famously said in 2000 was inhabited by 14,000 exclusively-gay men.

The Tabalosina mayor, Jorge Luis Vasquez, said: “Young people have low self-esteem by this stigma”.

Dr. Robert Castro Rodriguez, the dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of Lima, told a radio station that strontium can cause bone cancer, anaemia and cardiovascular problems. A link with homosexuality has yet to be identified.