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Assessment of feminization of male fish in English rivers by the Environment Agency of England and Wales.
In recent years there has been considerable concern over the ability of substances discharged into the environment to disrupt the normal endocrine function of wildlife. In particular, the apparent widespread feminization of male fish in rivers has received significant attention from regulators in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, and Japan. The U.K. and European epidemiological data sets have demonstrated that the occurrence of feminized fish is associated with effluent discharges and that the incidence and severity is positively correlated with the proportion of treated sewage effluent in receiving waters. Although weakly estrogenic substances may contribute to the overall effect, studies have concluded that steroid estrogens are the principal and most potent estrogenic components of domestic sewage. Extensive laboratory data sets confirm that steroid estrogens are capable of eliciting the effects observed in wild fish at concentrations that have been measured in effluents and in the environment. Based on evaluation of the available information, the Environment Agency (England and Wales) has concluded that the weight of evidence for endocrine disruption in fish is sufficient to develop a risk management strategy for estrogenically active effluents that discharge to the aquatic environment.
Ecosystems and Human Health, Science Group, Environment Agency, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. email@example.com,
Pub Type(s)Journal Article