August 1, 2012.
Pharmaceuticals have been found in waste water treatment plant (WWTP) effluents and there are scientific studies that indicate at least some of these chemicals have adverse effects on fish health. Two groups of pharmaceuticals that currently cause concerns are natural and synthetic steroids and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fathead minnows (FHM) are a common species of fish used for research and ethynyl estradiol (EE2) is a synthetic estrogen known to cause decreased fertility in fish. FHMs were exposed to EE2 for time periods between 0.25 hours to 144 hours in order to study uptake and disposition in this species. These results demonstrated that EE2 is rapidly absorbed by FHMs and distributed to target tissues such as the liver and gonads. These findings support the use of short-term exposure studies of WWTP effluents to assess the potential physiological effects on fish. The use of relatively short exposure times (e.g. 72 hrs) requires fewer resources and permits more WWTP effluents to be tested.
Irvin R. Schultz
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).