Overview of the big questions in endocrine disruption
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Overview of the big questions in endocrine disruption. John Sumpter Brunel University U.K. What is the problem?. And is it big enough to justify “ big questions”?. Let’s go back to the beginning - briefly!. INTERSEX GONAD (MILDLY AFFECTED FISH).

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Overview of the big questions in endocrine disruption l.jpg

Overview of the big questions in endocrine disruption

John Sumpter

Brunel University

U.K.


What is the problem l.jpg
What is the problem?

And is it big enough to justify

“big questions”?



Intersex gonad mildly affected fish l.jpg
INTERSEX GONAD (MILDLY AFFECTED FISH)


Slide5 l.jpg

EXPOSURE OF TROUT FOR 3 WEEKS TO EFFLUENT FROM

FOUR SEWAGE TREATMENT WORKS

100 000

10 000

1000

microgram

VTG

/ml

100

10

1

0.1

0.01

control

Willington

Carlisle

Winsford

Consett


Moving to the present what have we learnt from l.jpg
Moving to the present, what have we learnt from

  • Ten years of research

  • By many hundreds of scientists

  • Who have published thousands of papers

    on endocrine disruption in the aquatic environment?


Let us take a look at each of the big questions in turn and try to decide l.jpg
Let us take a look at each of the ‘big questions’ in turn, and try to decide

  • What we know

  • What we do not know


What chemicals are causing the effects l.jpg
What chemicals are causing the effects? turn, and try to decide

  • What we know

  • In most locations, steroid estrogens,

    both natural (e.g. estradiol) and

    synthetic (e.g. ethinyl estradiol)

  • In some locations, alkylphenoIs (e.g. nonylphenol)

  • In a few locations, other chemicals (e.g. genistein)

Note that only one of these chemicals is a ‘traditional’ pollutant.


What chemicals are causing these effects l.jpg
What chemicals are causing these effects? turn, and try to decide

  • What we do not know

    How do animals respond to mixtures of chemicals?

    e.g. two estrogens, or an estrogen and an androgen

    Can we predict chemicals of concern?



Slide11 l.jpg

Predicting the effect of a mixture of five oestrogenic chemicals

Predicted response (with confidence limits)


What animals are effected by endocrine disruption l.jpg
What animals are effected by endocrine disruption? chemicals

  • What we know

  • Limited effects overall on fish.

    In some locations, severe effects.

    In many other locations, small (or no) effects.

  • Unknown effects on other

    aquatic wildlife

    (e.g. invertebrates).


We are trying to protect u k biodiversity l.jpg
We are trying to protect chemicalsU.K. Biodiversity

An enormous task!


What effects do they cause l.jpg
What effects do they cause? chemicals

  • What we know

    Vitellogenin induction

    Intersexuality

    ‘Feminized’ reproductive ducts


Results of an experiment in which juvenile roach were exposed to effluent from a s t w l.jpg
RESULTS OF AN EXPERIMENT IN WHICH JUVENILE ROACH WERE EXPOSED TO EFFLUENT FROM A S.T.W.

100 46.5 22.2 13.8 river water control 1 control 2


What effects do they cause16 l.jpg
What effects do they cause? EXPOSED TO EFFLUENT FROM A S.T.W.

  • What we do not know

  • Are the known effects caused by the same, or different, chemicals?

  • Are there non-reproductive effects?

    (e.g. effects on metabolism, or growth).


What are the consequences of the effects l.jpg
What are the consequences of the effects? EXPOSED TO EFFLUENT FROM A S.T.W.

  • What we know

  • Fertility is reduced in endocrine-disrupted fish


Sperm production in wild roach l.jpg
SPERM PRODUCTION EXPOSED TO EFFLUENT FROM A S.T.W.IN WILD ROACH

*

***


Slide19 l.jpg
RESULTS OF A BREEDING TRIAL IN WHICH THE EFFECT OF DIFFERENT DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

** ** *


What are the consequences of the effects20 l.jpg
What are the consequences of the effects? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • What we do not know

  • Are there any consequences to female fish?

  • What are the consequences at the population level?

    Ethinyl estradiol (in lab and field studies) definitely causes population-level effects.

    But no information available on fish exposed to effluents.


What if anything should be done l.jpg
What, if anything, should be done? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • What we know

    Options range from:-

  • Do nothing – the problem is not serious enough

  • Ban or restrict certain chemicals

  • Clean up all effluents

    – could be done,

    but extremely

    expensive


What if anything should be done22 l.jpg
What, if anything, should be done? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • What we do not know

    Whether anything will be done.

    Will countries regulate effluent quality

    based on its “estrogen” activity?


Can we learn lessons from the endocrine disruption issue l.jpg
Can we learn lessons from the endocrine disruption issue? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • What we know

    Yes, of course we can learn from this issue.

    For example, can we use our new knowledge to

    more effectively investigate

    the issue of human

    pharmaceuticals in

    the aquatic

    environment.


Can we learn lessons from the endocrine disruption issue24 l.jpg
Can we learn lessons from the endocrine disruption issue? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • What we do not know

    Whether we will learn, or whether we

    will repeat all the “mistakes” made on

    the issue of endocrine disruption on

    the next microcontaminant issue

    (e.g. pharmaceuticals in the environment).


Can we put endocrine disruption into perspective l.jpg
Can we put endocrine disruption into perspective? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

We should try to use our limited resources as effectively as possible.

If we conclude that endocrine disruption does not pose a major threat to aquatic wildlife, then we should not continue to invest a large amount of resources in the issue.


How do we rank threats to aquatic wildlife l.jpg
How do we rank threats to aquatic wildlife? DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATED

  • Chemicals (including endocrine disruption)

  • Introduced predators

  • Diseases (native and introduced)

  • Climate change and its consequences

  • Over-exploitation


Enough from me i have come here to learn not to preach thank you for listening l.jpg
Enough from me DEGREES OF INTERSEXUALITY WERE INVESTIGATEDI have come here to learn, not to preach!Thank you for listening


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