The November 2010 issue of "Environmental Pollution" details successful experiments at the University of Cincinnati wherein rabbit's food resulted in the abiotic (non-biological) transformation and absorption of four different types of estrogen, reducing the levels of these estrogen hormones by more than 80 percent in wastewater.
The research has practical implications since it could point to inexpensive treatment technologies and materials for reducing estrogens in wastewater.
Currently, estrogen in wastewater represents a major conduit for the entry of the hormone, whether in its naturally occurring forms or synthetic form (birth-control pills), into the environment. There, it's believed the hormone causes responses in the endocrine systems of fish, birds and other wildlife in and around streams and rivers, groundwater, sediments and sludge. In other words, causing effects in wildlife such as the presence of both male and female sex organs, feminization of males, abnormal and malformed reproductive organs, skewed sex ratios, reduced fertility and more.
Population growth and the use of synthetic estrogens (birth-control pills) have increased the presence of the hormone (both in its naturally occurring forms and its synthetic forms) in the environment.
RABBIT FOOD AND THE ESTROGEN EFFECT
In an article titled "Abiotic Transformation of Estrogen in Synthetic Municipal Wastewater: An Alternative for Treatment" in this month's issue of Environmental Pollution, authors Makram Suidan, UC professor of environmental engineering; Mark Mills, research engineer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Risk Management Research Laboratory; and Ruth Marfil-Vega, UC doctoral student in environmental engineering, detail their success in harnessing natural materials in improving the removal of estrogen from the environment.
The experiments hold great promise, according to lead author Makram
|Contact: M.B. Reilly|
University of Cincinnati