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Chemicals remaining after wastewater treatment change the gender of fish
Date:6/21/2010

her consumer products flushed down toilets and drains. The amount of estrogens in the sampled effluent was enough to explain the effects on the fish "downstream" from the treatment plantin the river below the plant, according to Norris. The researchers saw no signs of reproductive disruption in fish upstream.

Also, the investigators exposed adult male fathead minnows to wastewater effluent they diluted with water taken from upstream of the plant. After seven days' exposure to this water, the fish had suppressed male sex characteristics and greatly elevated levels of the protein vitellogenin. Female fish make vitellogenin under the influence of estrogens, and male fish produce very little of it, so elevated levels in males indicate estrogen exposure, Norris explained.

After the technology upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant in 2008, the effluent was considerably less estrogenic to the fish. After the treatment plant's upgrade, the minnows exhibited less intense loss of male sex characteristics, an initial analysis found. "It took 28 days to get a significant elevation in vitellogenin and then only in 100 percent effluent," Norris said. "However, these improvements seen in wildlife will not substantially lessen the risk to human health because drinking water is not the major source of estrogenic chemicals for people."


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Contact: Aaron Lohr
alohr@endo-society.org
240-482-1380
The Endocrine Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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