ISBN: 1 84057 412 7
Published Date: 28/06/2006
There is increasing evidence of a causal link between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and aquatic effects, particularly on individual fish. However, there are few data to substantiate any population-level effects on aquatic communities. This review investigates the effects of wastewaters discharges on aquatic ecosystems, with a focus on fish populations.
There is good evidence that both natural and anthropogenic EDCs occur in the environment at concentrations sufficient to promote effects in individual fish. However, not all fish species react in the same way and not all wastewaters produce the same response. Evidence is emerging of reproductive effects in severely intersexed fish, which usually form a very small proportion of the total population. This may explain why there is no clear evidence of population-level effects in fish populations in the UK.
The possibility of both acute localised effects of EDCs on aquatic communities and chronic effects over the longer term should not be discounted. Impacts on the individual are recognised, although the significance for wider populations remains to be determined. Further field-based experiments are recommended to provide evidence from which to formulate appropriate policy and practical responses.