Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Are Common Pills and Plastics Feminizing Fish, Endangering People?

12.10.2009
Synthetic and natural hormones from plastics, pesticides and even common prescription drugs are seeping into rivers and streams and having unintended consequences on wildlife, causing some male fish to become feminized and lay eggs.

In fact, a recent report found that one third of small mouth bass were feminized in nine major U.S. river basins, and almost all of the rivers and streams tested in the United States contained some hormonally active chemicals.

The long-term consequences of hormones and endocrine disruptors in the environment will be the focus of the Tenth International Symposium on Environment and Hormones (E.hormone 2009), a four-day conference starting Oct. 21 at Tulane University that will bring together leading experts from around the world to talk about the latest research in this emerging field.

"It is one of the hottest topics in environmental biology right now," says John McLachlan, director of the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, which is hosting the conference. "The biological activity of these compounds both in terms of other species and, potentially, ourselves is something that scientists are becoming more and more aware of through research."

Almost 30 years ago, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences organized the first symposium on estrogens in the environment at a time when researchers were just becoming aware of the potential environmental impacts of synthetic hormones caused by industrial byproducts, pesticides and other chemicals introduced to the environment. Now scientists are looking at the proliferation of prescription drugs like antidepressants, contraceptives and other medications that are ending up in wastewater after being taken by people. Most municipal water treatment systems don't have the ability to neutralize pharmaceutical compounds in wastewater so they end up in rivers and streams, McLachlan says.

"They all end up in different places in the environment," he says. "What do they do to the wildlife that absorb them and, more importantly, what do they do to our water sources?"

A recent study published in the journal Aquatic Toxicology found feminized male fish in almost a third of 111 sampling sites in nine major U.S. river basins. Scientists are studying whether endocrine disruptors are responsible. Tyron Hayes, a leading expert in intersexed amphibians, will be speaking at the conference about his research on the effects of endocrine disruptors on wildlife.

The conference also discusses how hormones affect the body and endocrine system and how they may play a role in diseases like breast cancer. There will be several sessions about DES (diethylstilbestrol), a synthetic form of estrogen linked to increased cancer risks. The conference will also feature a session by "green chemistry" expert Terry Collins, who is leading a campaign to get companies to anticipate the future biological activity of the chemicals they design to make sure they don't cause problems as they break down. There is also a session about Bisphenol-A – a common chemical in plastic food containers and bottles – and its potential links to Type II diabetes and obesity.

Registration for the conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 21-24 at the Pere Marquette Hotel in downtown New Orleans, costs $450 for members of the public or $300 for students. Day passes are available for $200 or $125 for faculty members of Tulane or Xavier universities. Members of the public can attend one individual session of the conference at no charge, but they must register if they are attending multiple sessions.

More information, including a full program schedule, is available online at http://e.hormone.tulane.edu/eh2009.html

Keith Brannon | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://e.hormone.tulane.edu/eh2009.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>