A fish named Wayne-Wanda?

November 05, 2001

Hermaphrodite fish are on the rise, thanks to the birth control pill and other natural and unnatural forms of estrogen that have made their way into the water. Feminized fish were first found downstream from sewage plants in the United Kingdom.

"Closer to home, we have observed intersex White Perch in various locations in the Great Lakes, " explained Chris Metcalfe, professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University in Ontario. "And in the Columbia River, there is a much higher proportion of female salmon than males, indicating that some feminization process may be going on."

Metcalfe conducted lab experiments on aquarium fish to try to find out which of the various forms of estrogen were the culprit in the sexual alteration of fish. He will report his research findings as well as share new statistics on estrogen concentrations in water that were generated by the Canadian Department of Environment in Burlington, Ontario, on Monday, November 5, at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting in Boston.

Metcalfe found that very low levels of the estrogen hormones, 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol, 17 beta-estradiol, estrone and estriol, caused intersex and altered sex ratios in the aquarium fish.

"Ethinylestradiol is the active ingredient in the birth control pill," he said. "The other compounds are the natural female estrogen (beta estradiol) and metabolites of that compound excreted by women."

Metcalfe also found from his experiments that estrogen-mimicing degradation products of alkylphenol ethoxylate surfactants (compounds used in such things as pesticides, detergents, and cosmetics) and the plasticizer, Bisphenol A (used in lacquers for dental treatment and to coat food cans and other metal containers), had little or no estrogenic effects on the fish. He believes that it is the female estrogen hormones released from sewage treatment plants that are responsible for the feminization of wild fish.
-end-
Written by Kara LeBeau, GSA Staff Writer

CONTACT INFORMATION

During the GSA Annual Meeting, November 4-8, contact Ann Cairns or Christa Stratton at the GSA Newsroom in the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, for assistance and to arrange for interviews: (617) 954-3214.

The abstract for this presentation is available at: http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2001AM/finalprogram/abstract_25760.htm

Post-meeting contact information:

Chris Metcalfe
Dean of Research and Graduate Studies
and Professor, Environmental and Resource Studies
Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 7B8, Canada
E-Mail: cmetcalfe@trentu.ca
Phone:705-748-1011, x1272
Fax:705-748-1587

Ann Cairns
Director of Communications
Geological Society of America
Phone: 303-357-1056
Fax: 303-357-1074
acairns@geosociety.org

For more information about GSA visit our Web site at: http://www.geosociety.org

Geological Society of America

Related Estrogen Articles from Brightsurf:

Removal of synthetic estrogen from water
Synthetic estrogens from pharmaceuticals contaminate rivers and threaten the health of humans and fish.

Does estrogen influence alcohol use disorder?
A new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that high estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice.

Estrogen's role in the sex differences of alcohol abuse
Fluctuating estrogen levels may make alcohol more rewarding to female mice, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Estrogen's opposing effects on mammary tumors in dogs
Estrogen's role in canine mammary cancer is more complex than previously understood, according to new research led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Placenta transit of an environmental estrogen
The human foetus is considered to be particularly sensitive to environmental contaminants.

Estrogen improves Parkinson's disease symptoms
Brain-selective estrogen treatment improves the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in male mice, according to new research published in JNeurosci.

The sneaky way estrogen drives brain metastasis in non-estrogen-dependent breast cancers
University of Colorado Cancer Center study shows that while estrogen doesn't directly affect triple-negative breast cancer cells, it can affect surrounding brain cells in ways that promote cancer cell migration and invasiveness

New study demonstrates effectiveness and safety of vaginal estrogen
Despite its proven effectiveness in treating the genital symptoms of menopause, low-dose vaginal estrogen therapy remains underused largely because of misperceptions regarding its safety.

Hidden estrogen receptors in the breast epithelium
EPFL scientists have uncovered that next to estrogen receptor positive and negative there are cells with very low amounts of the receptor protein.

Estrogen may protect against depression after heart attack
Estrogen may protect against heart failure-related depression by preventing the production of inflammation-causing chemicals in the brain.

Read More: Estrogen News and Estrogen Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.