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Emerging and priority contaminants with endocrine active potentials in sediments and fish from the River Po (Italy)

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      Collapse of a fish population after exposure to a synthetic estrogen.

      Municipal wastewaters are a complex mixture containing estrogens and estrogen mimics that are known to affect the reproductive health of wild fishes. Male fishes downstream of some wastewater outfalls produce vitellogenin (VTG) (a protein normally synthesized by females during oocyte maturation) and early-stage eggs in their testes, and this feminization has been attributed to the presence of estrogenic substances such as natural estrogens [estrone or 17beta-estradiol (E2)], the synthetic estrogen used in birth-control pills [17 alpha-ethynylestradiol (EE2)], or weaker estrogen mimics such as nonylphenol in the water. Despite widespread evidence that male fishes are being feminized, it is not known whether these low-level, chronic exposures adversely impact the sustainability of wild populations. We conducted a 7-year, whole-lake experiment at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northwestern Ontario, Canada, and showed that chronic exposure of fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) to low concentrations (5-6 ng x L(-1)) of the potent 17 alpha-ethynylestradiol led to feminization of males through the production of vitellogenin mRNA and protein, impacts on gonadal development as evidenced by intersex in males and altered oogenesis in females, and, ultimately, a near extinction of this species from the lake. Our observations demonstrate that the concentrations of estrogens and their mimics observed in freshwaters can impact the sustainability of wild fish populations.
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        Development and evaluation of consensus-based sediment quality guidelines for freshwater ecosystems.

        Numerical sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) for freshwater ecosystems have previously been developed using a variety of approaches. Each approach has certain advantages and limitations which influence their application in the sediment quality assessment process. In an effort to focus on the agreement among these various published SQGs, consensus-based SQGs were developed for 28 chemicals of concern in freshwater sediments (i.e., metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and pesticides). For each contaminant of concern, two SQGs were developed from the published SQGs, including a threshold effect concentration (TEC) and a probable effect concentration (PEC). The resultant SQGs for each chemical were evaluated for reliability using matching sediment chemistry and toxicity data from field studies conducted throughout the United States. The results of this evaluation indicated that most of the TECs (i.e., 21 of 28) provide an accurate basis for predicting the absence of sediment toxicity. Similarly, most of the PECs (i.e., 16 of 28) provide an accurate basis for predicting sediment toxicity. Mean PEC quotients were calculated to evaluate the combined effects of multiple contaminants in sediment. Results of the evaluation indicate that the incidence of toxicity is highly correlated to the mean PEC quotient (R(2) = 0.98 for 347 samples). It was concluded that the consensus-based SQGs provide a reliable basis for assessing sediment quality conditions in freshwater ecosystems.
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          Something from "nothing"--eight weak estrogenic chemicals combined at concentrations below NOECs produce significant mixture effects.

          We tested whether multicomponent mixtures of xenoestrogens would produce significant effects when each component was combined at concentrations below its individual NOEC or EC01 level. The estrogenic effects of eight chemicals of environmental relevance, including hydroxylated PCBs, benzophenones, parabenes, bisphenol A, and genistein, were recorded using a recombinant yeast estrogen screen (YES). To ensure that no chemical contributed disproportionately to the overall combination effect, a mixture was prepared at a mixture ratio proportional to the potency of each individual component. The performance of four approaches for the calculation of additive combination effects (concentration addition, toxicity equivalency factors, effect summation, and independent action) was compared. Experimental testing of the predictions revealed that concentration addition and its application, the toxicity equivalency factor approach, were valid methods for the calculation of additive mixture effects. There was excellent agreement between prediction and observation. In contrast, independent action and effect summation led to clear underestimations of the experimentally observed responses. Crucially, there were substantial mixture effects even though each chemical was present at levels well below its NOEC and EC01. We conclude that estrogenic agents are able to act together to produce significant effects when combined at concentrations below their NOECs. Our results highlight the limitations of the traditional focus on the effects of single agents. Hazard assessments that ignore the possibility of joint action of estrogenic chemicals will almost certainly lead to significant underestimations of risk.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Environmental Science and Pollution Research
            Environ Sci Pollut Res
            Springer Nature
            0944-1344
            1614-7499
            September 2015
            May 10 2015
            : 22
            : 18
            : 14050-14066
            10.1007/s11356-015-4388-8
            © 2015
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