Once it is known that pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) do occur in the envirnonment, the next question is whether their presence can cause adverse envirnomental effects. This third session of the four part PPCPs webinar will present two studies done by non-EPA researchers that raise questions about potential reproductive effects from wastewater effluent in marine waters and the potential for fluoxetine to disrupt endocrine processes in fish and frogs.
Jeffry Armstrong will talk about the results of five years of monitoring done by the Orange County (California) Sanitation District at its deep water marine outfall 8 km off the coast of Southern California. This study has documented that endocrine functions have been compromised in some of the fish collected near this outfall, as well as in reference areas. However, to date indications of population-level effects have not been found. Further research is being planned by the District to continue to better characterize the effects of the release of treated wastewater effluent into coastal waters.
Marsha Black of the University of Georgia will discuss the results of her experiments designed to detect endocrine effects of fluoxetine exposure. Fluoxetine is used to treat clinical depression and it has been detected in surface waters at low levels and is known to accumulate in the tissues of fish within effluent dominated streams. It has the potential to affect a number of endocrine-mediated processes including spawning, reproduction, and thyroid mediated development. These experiments demonstrated not only that fluoxetine has the potential to disrupt endocrine processes in fish and frogs but that more targeted studies that measure endocrine biomarkers or endpoints on the exposed organisms are needed.