Gwynne lyons toxics science and policy advisor wwf uk
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Gwynne Lyons Toxics Science and Policy Advisor WWF UK. Congenital Defects The wildlife/human connection AREHNA seminar - Kos, June 2005. Overview of Talk. Two examples of wildlife warnings. Congenital defects in 4 classes of vertebrate animals: fish; amphibians; reptiles; mammals.

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Gwynne Lyons Toxics Science and Policy Advisor WWF UK

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Gwynne lyons toxics science and policy advisor wwf uk

Gwynne LyonsToxics Science and Policy Advisor WWF UK

Congenital Defects

The wildlife/human connection

AREHNA seminar - Kos, June 2005


Overview of talk

Overview of Talk

  • Two examples of wildlife warnings.

  • Congenital defects in 4 classes of vertebrate animals: fish; amphibians; reptiles; mammals.

  • Wildlife warnings for the future


Example 1 abortion in sea lions

Example 1 Abortion in Sea Lions

  • 20 % Sea Lions had aborted pups on an island off California

  • DDE responsible for 15%? Of premature baby deaths in USA(Longnecker et al. 2001)

  • Higher DDT in Chinese workers who suffer abortion(Korrick et al. 2001)


Ddt in lab animals

DDT in lab animals

  • DDT has an anti-androgenic action in rodents. AGD > hypospadias > undescended testes(Kelce et al. 1995; Earl Gray et al. 2001)

  • Highlights fetal tissue concs of 10-20 ppm DDE = similar to humans in late 1960s

  • Shows DDT / DDE cause cryptorchidism and CIS in rabbits


South africa babies

South Africa - babies

  • DDT used in homes for malarial control

  • Prof Bornman et al(unpublished –work in progress)

  • DDT linked to testicular abnormalities in baby boys


Example 2 thyroid effects in great lakes wildlife

Example 2Thyroid effects in Great Lakes wildlife

  • In Great Lakes all adult male salmon showed thyroid disruption. Enlarged thyroids – goitre - some ruptured. Effects on thyroid still evident

  • 2001-2004 gulls still have goitre – produce less thyroid hormones.

  • Turtles in Great Lakes reduced thyroid function.


Other species showing altered thyroid function

Babies in 1990 Dutch cohort – thyroid hormone levels correlate with pollutants

The higher dioxin, furan and PCB in milk, the lower maternal total T3 and T4 . Infants have higher plasma-levels of TSH

Alligators in polluted Florida lakes – reduced thyroxine levels.

Florida panther thyroid dysfunction

Polar bears – thyroid hormone levels altered - PCBs

Other species showing altered thyroid function


Thyroid effects in humans

Thyroid effects in humans

  • Goitre in Michigan residents

  • PCBs - developmental neurotoxicity = thyroid disruption?

  • In Japan – tripling of the incidence of cretinism 1981-9995 defective thyroid function in foetal life cause dioxin? – other chemicals linked to ED of T


Congenital defects in vertebrate wildlife fish

Congenital defects in Vertebrate wildlife - fish

  • Intersex fish – up to 100% of roach in some UK freshwater rivers. VTG.Now found elsewhere in EU.

  • Intersex found in UK marine fish – such as flounder – but less severe.Now found in Seine, Baltic flounder, and severe in swordfish from the Mediterranean

  • MIPs morphologically intermediate papilla syndrome – Sand Gobies.


Congenital defects in vertebrates amphibians

Congenital defects in Vertebrates: Amphibians

  • Gonadal dysgenesis and hermaphrodite leopard frogs - atrazine sites USA (Hayes et al. 2003)

  • Intersex in cricket frogs – pop decline - peaked in OC time? (Reeder 2005)

  • Cane Toads – 30% hermaphrodite – atrazine on sugar cane in Florida(Gross)

  • Limb deformities


Congenital defects in reptiles

Congenital defects in Reptiles

  • Smaller phallus in alligators.

  • Abnormalities of the testes in alligators

  • Smaller precloacal length (= penis) in snapping turtles - Detroit river

  • Abnormal testes – ovo-testes in red belly turtle in Florida


Congenital defects in mammals mustelids

Congenital defects in Mammals: Mustelids

  • Impaired reproduction in otters in EU, and in Great Lakes.

  • Otters in Lower Columbia river had shorter baculums and smaller testes.

  • Eye defects linked with lower vit A

  • Endangered European mink in decline

  • Mink in British Columbia shorter baculum correlating to PCBs


Congenital defects in polar bears and panthers

Congenital defects in Polar Bears and Panthers

  • Suspected higher rates of female hermaphroditism in polluted Svalbaard.

  • Many of remaining small population of Florida panthers have undescended testes


Congenital defects in black and brown bears

Congenital defects in Black and Brown Bears

  • Retained testes in 11 of 71 black bears in Florida(4 old enough to be considered cryptorchid)(Dunbar 1996)

  • In Alberta Canada – 1988 – reported cases of masculinised females


Congenital defects in mule deer and white tailed deer

Congenital defects in Mule Deer and White Tailed Deer

  • Abnormal testes and abnormal antlers in 27 of 116 adult male Mule deer around site on Columbia river USA (Tiller et al.1997)

  • Of 254 white tailed deer from Montana – 67% showed genital developmental abnormalities. (1996-2000) Mis-positioned genitals, undersized scrota, and un-descended testes(Hoy et al. 2002)


Congenital defects in male sitka black tail deer in alaska

Congenital defects in male Sitka Black Tail Deer in Alaska

Aliluik peninsula on Kodiak Island

  • 61 out of 94 were bilateral cryptorchid

  • 43 out of 94 had abnormal antlers

  • At least 2 of the 10 scrotal testes examined contained CIS cellsprecursors of seminoma (Veeramanchaneni et al. 2005)


Congenital defects in eland in south africa

Congenital defects in Eland in South Africa

  • Focal white gritty areas found in testes of all 11 eland.

  • Vacuolisation of sertoli cells

  • Impaired spermatogenesis

  • Testicular lesions associated with high NP?

  • First evidence of wildlife affected by EDCs in South Africa


Warning for male homo sapiens

Warning for male Homo Sapiens

  • Testicular dysgenesis now seen in many aquatic and terrestrial species.

  • Additive effects known to occur in vivo with anti-androgenic substances(Foster et al. 2000)(Gray et al. 2001)(Silva et al. 2002)

  • Swan 2005 – shows AGD and other effects linked to phthalate metabolites in mothers.

  • Baby boys – half the men their fathers are?


Warning immune suppression in wildlife is widespread

Warning: Immune suppression in wildlife is widespread

  • Birds in Gt Lakes - Herring Gulls, Black-crowned Herons, Caspian Terns in (2001) Great Lakes.

  • Snapping Turtles in (2001) in Gt Lakes

  • Loggerhead Turtles (2000/01) from North Carolina

  • Seals (and controlled feeding of seals with fish from polluted Waddon sea depressed immune system


Warning immune suppression in wildlife is widespread cont

Warning: Immune suppression in wildlife is widespread ..cont…

  • High rates of cancer in St Lawrence belugas.

  • Mice fed with fat replaced with beluga fat – show immune suppression

  • Immune suppression very evident in Svalbaard polar bears

  • Immune suppression found in Florida panther


Implications for humans

Implications for humans?

  • Discuss – Rice oil - Inuit babies – Dutch cohort. DES children. > old age – autoimmune disease – arthritis.

  • Need to identify chemicals with immunotoxicant and/or ED action

  • Need tighter controls on EDCs

  • Need to bring EDCs under prior authorisation under REACH. Help!


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