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Estrogen in wastewater affecting ocean fish (DDT mentioned)
Daily bulletin ^ | 11/28/05 | Kevin Butler

Posted on 11/28/2005 6:49:34 AM PST by GreenFreeper

LONG BEACH - A male fish off the Southern California coast is getting in touch with its feminine side. And that has some scientists worried.

Kevin Kelley, a professor of environmental endocrinology at Cal State Long Beach, is part of a team studying a species of male flatfish in Southern California waters that has been found to have high levels of estrogen, which appear to be causing feminization.

Kelley and other researchers believe that the treated wastewater draining through underground pipes into waters off Santa Monica, Huntington Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula contains human estrogen hormones expelled in human urine.

Although wastewater treatment plants remove contaminants, they aren't equipped to remove estrogen, so the hormone is released into waters and attaches to sedimentary particles, Kelley said.

Kelley and other researchers say that the hornyhead turbot, which feeds on animals in the sediment, could be ingesting estrogen.

There are clear signs that male hornyhead turbot have been affected. Kelley and other researchers found that, probably due to high estrogen levels and other contaminants, some males are producing a protein that females make to build up egg yolk.

In another, more limited study by several agencies, scientists found 11 out of 82 male hornyhead turbot collected off the Southern California coast had small eggs growing in their testes.

How this feminization is affecting the life of the fish isn't yet clear, he said.

"We don't know all the impacts yet, but males aren't supposed to be producing this (protein)," he said. "And if nothing else, (the male fish) are expending inappropriate energy, making something that they can't use, and it may cause who knows what other kinds of physiological problems."

Kelley and CSULB students conducted chemical tests on the fish at a CSULB lab. They worked with investigators from the Orange County Sanitation District and the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.

Researchers don't know exactly how much estrogen is being leaked into Southern California waters, he said. But other international studies have clearly shown that the human hormone can find its way into oceans in high enough quantities to induce feminization in male fish, Kelley said.

The CSULB lab has received a USC Sea Grant to measure estrogen flow into the area.

It's likely that Southern California waters contain naturally-produced estrogen as well as synthetic estrogen contained in birth control pills, he said.

Further contributing to feminization, the chemical fertilizer DDT acts like estrogen, he said. The chemical was dumped into waters by industry decades ago, Kelley said. DDT has since been banned, but it persists in the environment, he said.

The big question, Kelley said, is whether there are elevated estrogen levels in other fish that humans eat (Hornyhead turbot are not consumed). Kelley and other researchers plan to study the pacific sand dab, which humans eat, to see if estrogen could be making its way into the bodies of human seafood lovers.

"We are only touching the tip of the iceberg right now," he said. "We don't know yet what the greater impacts are, but for the first time we have identified some serious changes in wildlife."

Eliminating estrogen and other hormones from the wastewater stream is a tough task, he said.

"It's very difficult to remove them, and it would come at an enormous public cost," he said. "But it may be something that people someday might want to look at."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ddt; ecology; ecoping; environment; estrogen; fish; hornyheadturbot; oceans; pollution; water
Some problematic estrogen mimics.....

....scientists found 11 out of 82 male hornyhead turbot collected off the Southern California coast had small eggs growing in their testes.

Now that is scary!

1 posted on 11/28/2005 6:49:36 AM PST by GreenFreeper
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To: blam; Carry_Okie; Chanticleer; ClearCase_guy; cogitator; CollegeRepublican; ...
ECO-PING

FReepmail me to be added or removed to the ECO-PING list!

2 posted on 11/28/2005 6:50:40 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: GreenFreeper

I wonder what the estrogen levels are in the San Francisco drinking water? That might explain a lot...


3 posted on 11/28/2005 6:50:45 AM PST by TommyDale
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To: GreenFreeper

the other thing that is scary is all of the soy products that we eat all the time.


4 posted on 11/28/2005 6:51:08 AM PST by Mercat (God loves us where He finds us.)
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To: wagglebee; Coleus

homosexual agenda?


5 posted on 11/28/2005 6:52:40 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: TommyDale

The land of fruits and nuts!


6 posted on 11/28/2005 6:54:08 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: Maximus of Texas; pissant
Hornyhead Turbot ping!
7 posted on 11/28/2005 6:54:23 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (Yarn-ho.)
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To: Mercat

What do you me We?

On another note, U of Hawaii study (1980's) showed long term consumption of tofu caused brain atrophy.


8 posted on 11/28/2005 6:55:02 AM PST by Cold Heart
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To: LongElegantLegs; pissant
..."is getting in touch with its feminine side"

Hey, wait a minute. Doesn't Pissant live on the Pacific coast? And isn't he a big fish eater (pissant, please refrain from the obvious)? Does this explain some of his posts?
9 posted on 11/28/2005 6:57:40 AM PST by Maximus of Texas (On my signal, pull my finger)
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To: GreenFreeper

"the hornyhead turbot, which feeds on animals in the sediment, could be ingesting estrogen."

Heh.


10 posted on 11/28/2005 7:00:32 AM PST by EggsAckley ("The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handle")
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To: Maximus of Texas; pissant
Well, he does get along well with lots of Freeper wimmin...
11 posted on 11/28/2005 7:06:29 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (Yarn-ho.)
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To: Millee

Can you ping your list for the Hornyhead Turbot?


12 posted on 11/28/2005 7:07:05 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (Yarn-ho.)
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To: LongElegantLegs
The Hornyhead Turbot


13 posted on 11/28/2005 7:10:28 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: LongElegantLegs
Appetizing...
14 posted on 11/28/2005 7:14:24 AM PST by LongElegantLegs (Yarn-ho.)
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To: GreenFreeper

Uhh-Oh. Better check SF water


15 posted on 11/28/2005 7:22:04 AM PST by varyouga (We Are...PENN STATE!)
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To: Cold Heart
On another note, U of Hawaii study (1980's) showed long term consumption of tofu caused brain atrophy.

I would think that one would have to already have brain atrophy in order to consider consuming tofu. Nasty stuff, that tofu....and yes, I've tried it. Yukko!

16 posted on 11/28/2005 7:23:13 AM PST by Thermalseeker
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To: GreenFreeper
....scientists found 11 out of 82 male hornyhead turbot collected off the Southern California coast had small eggs growing in their testes.

Not necessarily. Do these scientists have a historic baseline for the normal condition of hornyhead turbot indicating that this condition is unusual for that species?

Consider this:

Of the vertebrates in the animal kingdom, sex determination is usually a fixed characteristic in terms of life history. Interestingly, there are a few organisms for whom sex is a plastic condition, often determined by a combination of internal and external signals. One such group of organisms which follows this trend are the tropical teleosts: the conspicuous coloful fish inhabiting coral reefs.

Source

It would seem sexual plasticity, or at least its potential, may not be uncommon in fish. This could well be more eco-fear-mongering.

17 posted on 11/28/2005 8:01:42 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: TommyDale

So THIS explains all those girly-men living in, and around, the Santa Monica area.


18 posted on 11/28/2005 8:14:20 AM PST by Signalman
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To: Carry_Okie
It would seem sexual plasticity, or at least its potential, may not be uncommon in fish.

True, fish are fairly plastic organisms, even in terms of sex. But as your quote said it often "determined by a combination of internal and external signals." Estrogen mimics seem like pretty good signals to me.

Further, there seems to be a ton of research on the hornyhead turbot and none i can find historically document any signs of feminization (not to say it didn't occur). Here is an older paper that makes no mention of it Aspects of the Life History of Hornyhead Turbot, Pleuronichthys verticalis, off Southern California and cites that they are heavily monitored due to their accumulation of metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons.

19 posted on 11/28/2005 8:33:33 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: Mercat

I don't. Soy sauce a few times a year, that's it. Used to eat tofu a lot and gave it up.


20 posted on 11/28/2005 8:48:20 AM PST by little jeremiah
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To: GreenFreeper
It's very difficult to remove them, and it would come at an enormous public cost," he said. "But it may be something that people someday might want to look at."

TRANSLATION: Another socialist eco-terror tactic to drive up the cost of living and cripple the economy of despised America.

21 posted on 11/28/2005 9:06:49 AM PST by TexasRepublic (BALLISTIC CATHARSIS: perforating uncooperative objects with chunks of lead)
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To: Mercat; redhead; Lil'freeper

the other thing that is scary is all of the soy products that we eat all the time. >>

I hear so much pro and con regarding soy products


22 posted on 11/28/2005 10:07:49 AM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: GreenFreeper

Your link takes us to 1992, a bit before the premise of ingested hormone or hormone mimics became a subject of study; it seems the authors are just stretching the subject group.


23 posted on 11/28/2005 12:55:32 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: Old Professer
Your link takes us to 1992, a bit before the premise of ingested hormone or hormone mimics became a subject of study; it seems the authors are just stretching the subject group.

True but as you see in table 1 they did a pretty thorough examination of their reproductive organs. I would imagine that if the males were producing eggs in their testes 13 years ago, they would have noticed. Hornyheads have been looked at quite regularly for other toxins so one would think that feminization would have been recorded previously under these other monitoring efforts. My point was that its not like they hauled in some strange critters off the ocean floor that they knew little about, found males producing eggs, and immediately blamed it on estrogen mimics.

24 posted on 11/28/2005 1:16:28 PM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: GreenFreeper

I think you may assume too much, the 1992 study seemed to have strongly defined parameters.

A letter to the authors of that study could prove enlightening, though.


25 posted on 11/28/2005 1:26:40 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: Old Professer
I think you may assume too much, the 1992 study seemed to have strongly defined parameters.

Perhaps, though you would think slicing open gonads would reveal any feminization. Like I said this was just 1 article that looked at sex and life history traits with no mention of feminization. During the early to mid-90's, scientists were frantically looking for human caused abnormalities, I find it unlikely that they would have missed something like this.

26 posted on 11/28/2005 1:35:47 PM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: GreenFreeper

Well, here is his E-mail addy: kmkelley@csulb.edu

I am going to send him a link to this page.


27 posted on 11/28/2005 4:35:27 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: GreenFreeper

I sent him the whole page.


28 posted on 11/28/2005 4:43:06 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: GreenFreeper; Old_Professor
First of all, the "scientist" in this article cites concentrations of DDT in sediment.

Further contributing to feminization, the chemical fertilizer DDT acts like estrogen, he said. The chemical was dumped into waters by industry decades ago, Kelley said. DDT has since been banned, but it persists in the environment, he said.

DDT breaks down rapidly in salt water into DDE. For him to cite DDT to the media is pure grant mongering. Then you go on:

Estrogen mimics seem like pretty good signals to me.

A characteristically extended inference not supported by quantitative data. To back such an assertion, you would have to show the differences in the effects of estrogens from treatment plants versus "estrogen mimics" from agricultural chemical residues in hornyhead turbot (which I guarantee you has not been done), never mind distinguishing them from any natural propensity toward protogyny in that species (which very likely also has not been done given that I haven't found a single study). Further, the data from your link contributes some rather interesting facts.

Several agencies in Southern California measure the bioaccumulation of trace metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons in muscle tissue of hornyhead turbot as part of their receiving water monitoring programs. In 1991 off Orange County, p,p’-DDE averaged 362 µg/kg wet weight in hornyhead turbot liver and 5 µg/kg dry weight in the sediments (CSDOC 1992). In the same year in Santa Monica Bay, p,p’-DDE averaged 7.8 mg/kg wet weight in liver and 81 µg/kg dry weight in the sediments (City of Los Angeles 1992). The highest tissue levels of chlorinated hydrocarbons in hornyhead turbot occur on the Palos Verdes Shelf; concentrations decline to the north and south (Mearns et al. 1991).

First of all, the paper (correctly) cites quantitative amounts of DDE, a breakdown product of DDT in saltwater. DDT breaks down in saltwater so rapidly that for the article to state that it was present and persistent in marine sediments is pure farce.

Second, the bioaccumulated fish liver concentrations of DDE (which extensive research has been shown not to be a mutagen) in Orange County are below 1 ppb! To assert that concentrations that small are capable of inducing sex change would require serious experimental proof.

Third, according to the linked article, in Santa Monica Bay the bioaccumulated concentrations in fish liver are 7.8ppm, or nearly 8,000 times that of Orange County even though the concentrations in sediments are only 18 times higher (demonstrating considerable capacity to store the and filter out the chemical (it would be really interesting to assay the quantity of such chemicals in other tissues of the respective samples)). So, if the numbers of male fish displaying protogyny and the degree of progression are the same in Orange County versus Santa Monica Bay, chances are that the DDE isn't the culprit.

Then there's this little gem:

It's likely that Southern California waters contain naturally-produced estrogen as well as synthetic estrogen contained in birth control pills, he (Kelly) said.

No mention is made in either the article above nor the linked article of the absolute concentrations of marine estrogens, nor whether they are unusual for the Pacific Coast, nor is any mention made in the article above of even an estimate of the percentage contribution of estrogens in the water from anthropogenic sources from birth control pills versus natural background concentrations.

Now that is scary!

No, the really scary thing is that the article doesn't mention that protogyny in fish is not unusual.

For you to go off implying in dark tones that some sort of pending crisis exists, when protogyny in fish is so common, when the article is full of errors directly attributable to the "scientist," when the concentrations of bioaccumulated DDE vary wildly with no mention of any difference in consequences, and with no quantitative data of either the total quantity of estrogens, much less the anthropogenic fraction, now THAT is scary.

29 posted on 11/29/2005 9:34:12 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: Carry_Okie; GreenFreeper; Old_Professor
Second, the bioaccumulated fish liver concentrations of DDE (which extensive research has been shown not to be a mutagen) in Orange County are below 1 ppb!

Correction: Below 1ppm (need more coffee). Consequently the numbers in this post are errant as follows.

Third, according to the linked article, in Santa Monica Bay the bioaccumulated concentrations in fish liver are 7.8ppm, or nearly 8,000 times that of Orange County even though the concentrations in sediments are only 18 times higher (demonstrating considerable capacity to store the and filter out the chemical (it would be really interesting to assay the quantity of such chemicals in other tissues of the respective samples)). So, if the numbers of male fish displaying protogyny and the degree of progression are the same in Orange County versus Santa Monica Bay, chances are that the DDE isn't the culprit.

Should be:

Third, according to the linked article, in Santa Monica Bay the bioaccumulated concentrations in fish liver are 7.8ppm, or nearly 20 times that of Orange County even though the concentrations in sediments are only 18 times higher (demonstrating considerable capacity to store the and filter out the chemical (it would be really interesting to assay the quantity of such chemicals in other tissues of the respective samples)). So, if the numbers of male fish displaying protogyny and the degree of progression are the same in Orange County versus Santa Monica Bay, chances are that the DDE isn't the culprit.

Definitely need more coffee.

30 posted on 11/29/2005 9:47:49 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: GreenFreeper
Further contributing to feminization, the chemical fertilizer DDT acts like estrogen, he said.

I always thought that DDT was a pesticide, not a fertilizer.

31 posted on 11/29/2005 9:52:24 AM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Old Professer; Carry_Okie
Mr. Cooper, got back to me wrote the following:

We had the same question here at SCCWRP. Steve Bay is the scientist currently working on this question here at SCCWRP. I just recently gave him all of my gonad sections from my studies in the early 90's. Hi group is re-examining them for signs of sex changes. So, he would be a better person to ask, since I haven't looked at those sample for some 12 or 13 years now. His e-mail is steveb@sccwrp.org. Cheers, Larry

I'll try and write Steve soon but unfortunately have 0 time right now.

32 posted on 11/29/2005 10:34:37 AM PST by GreenFreeper (Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress)
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To: GreenFreeper

Back in the early 90's, I went out on a research boat to study the fish living around the outfalls from the Los Angeles Sewage Treatment facility near LA Harbor. The fish they brought up were full of lesions. It was pretty gross. I remember some of the fish were this type of fish. I did this while completing my degree at Long Beach State. I wonder if this was part of the study.

I was just in the class to satisfy my science requirements.


33 posted on 11/29/2005 10:45:06 AM PST by OC_Steve
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To: GreenFreeper

I was hoping one of the researchers would sign up and fill us in personally.


34 posted on 11/29/2005 10:50:28 AM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: Old Professer
I was hoping one of the researchers would sign up and fill us in personally.

That would require that they be honest and unbiased.....

35 posted on 12/02/2005 8:13:45 PM PST by forester (An economy that is overburdened by government eventually results in collapse)
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To: Old Professer
Did said researcher ever get back to you?
36 posted on 12/08/2005 6:42:47 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: GreenFreeper

male hornyhead find feminine side, one would think the radical feminists would be estatic.


37 posted on 12/08/2005 6:46:51 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Carry_Okie

No.


38 posted on 12/08/2005 8:15:27 AM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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