Endocrine disruption in fish: An assessment of recent research and results

Pait, Anthony S. and Nelson, Judd O. (2002) Endocrine disruption in fish: An assessment of recent research and results. Silver Spring, MD, NOAA/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, (NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS CCMA, 149)

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This report provides an assessment of recent investigations into endocrine disruption in fresh and saltwater species of fish. Most work to date has concen-trated on reproductive endocrine disruption. Laboratory studies have shown a variety of synthetic and natural chemicals including certain industrial intermediates, PAHs, PCBs, pesticides, dioxins, trace elements and plant sterols can interfere with the endocrine system in fish. The potency of most of these chemicals, however, is typically hundreds to thousands of times less than that of endog-enous hormones. Evidence of environmental endocrine disruption ranges from the presence of female egg proteins in males and reduced levels of endogenous hormones in both males and females, to gonadal histopathologies and intersex (presence of ovotestes) fish. Overt endocrine disruption in fish does not appear to be a ubiquitous environmental phenomenon, but rather more likely to occur near sewage treatment plants, pulp and paper mills, and in areas of high organic chemical contamination. However, more wide-spread endocrine disruption can occur in rivers with smaller flows and correspondingly large or numerous wastewater inputs. Some of the most severe examples of endocrine disruption in fish have been found adjacent to sewage treatment plants. Effects are thought to be caused prima-rily by natural and synthetic estrogens and to a lesser extent by the degradation products of alkylphenol poly-ethoxylate surfactants. Effects found in fish near pulp and paper mills include reduced levels of estrogens and androgens as well as masculinization of females, and has been linked to the presence of β-sitosterol, a plant sterol. Effects seen in areas of heavy industrial activity typically include depressed levels of estrogens and androgens as well as reduced gonadal growth, and may be linked to the presence of PAHs, PCBs, and possibly dioxins. At this time, however, there is no clear indication that large populations of fish are being seriously impacted as a result of endocrine disruption, although additional work is needed to address this possibility. (PDF contains 63 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Endocrine disruption in fish: An assessment of recent research and results
Personal Creator/Author:
Pait, Anthony S.
Nelson, Judd O.
Series Name: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS CCMA
Number: 149
Date: 2002
Publisher: NOAA/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Additional Information: Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment
Subjects: Fisheries
Item ID: 2177
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 28 May 2009 21:45
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 19:37
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2177

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