[Pharmwaste] "Intersex" male bass found throughout protected Northeast US waters

Catherine Zimmer zenllc at usfamily.net
Fri Dec 18 10:41:15 EST 2015

Good job Laurie pulling that article up so quickly.  


I’m with you Allen, when I saw the post of more intersex fish, my first
thought was, yep, same old story (no offense Laurie).  We really need to
start doing something about this.  


As I’ve been putting together comments to EPA’s rx. Waste rule, I’ve seen
that some EU countries are actually implementing tertiary treatment at POTW.
And, not at much expense, e.g. six percent in Switzerland.  Because we don’t
seem to be moving  very quickly towards source reducing rx in humans and
animals, it seems our next step is source reducing from our POTW to our
waters with tertiary treatment.  Six percent increase in wastewater
treatment seems a small price to pay to protect aquatic life from
extinction.  (maybe a bit dramatic, but probably not too much).  


Very truly yours,


Catherine Zimmer, MS, BSMT

Zimmer Environmental Improvement, LLC

Reducing and managing healthcare related waste and costs for fifteen years.

St. Paul, MN 

Ph:  651.645.7509

 <mailto:zenllc at usfamily.net> zenllc at usfamily.net


From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us
[mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Tenace,
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2015 8:58 AM
To: Gilliam, Allen; 'pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us'
Subject: RE: [Pharmwaste] "Intersex" male bass found throughout protected
Northeast US waters


Hi Al, 


I can think of one study: the one in a research lake in Canada several years
ago where they introduced low levels of estrogen and the population crashed.


“Kidd and colleagues from Canada's federal fisheries agency added the
synthetic estrogen found in birth control pills to a remote, isolated lake
set aside for such experiments in northwestern
Ontario, Canada. 

For three summers the researchers added estrogen at levels found in
untreated municipal wastewaters. 

Several fish species live in the lake, including the short-lived fathead

After the first summer, male minnows were producing egg proteins. By the
second year their sperm cells were undeveloped. Shortly after that they
produced eggs as well. 

In addition, females were producing more egg protein than normal, and their
sexual development was also delayed, Kidd said.


The result was an impaired ability of the minnows to reproduce, which caused
the population to collapse in the second year of the study, the researchers

The population even failed to recover in the two years after the researchers
stopped adding estrogen, indicating the effects were quite persistent,
according to Kidd.”


(More at the link)




From: Gilliam, Allen [mailto:GILLIAM at adeq.state.ar.us] 
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2015 9:51 AM
To: Tenace, Laurie <Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us>;
'pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us' <pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us>
Subject: RE: [Pharmwaste] "Intersex" male bass found throughout protected
Northeast US waters


Thanks Laurie, interesting story once again.


(c’mon Laurie!!  Almost 80°F on Christmas day and 82 the next?)


Does anyone “out there” know if there’s been any studies conducted
demonstrating a decrease in affected fishes’ population?  Seems we’ve beat
the intersexing story into acceptation so the next step would be to present
the potential outcome showing downward population trends = future
extinction?  That type of report should raise some political hackles and
hopefully some serious legislation


Look how long it took for global warming to be (almost 100%) accepted and
some worldwide actions promised.  Don’t think our aquatic life have the
luxury of that time.


Wishing all a Merry Christmas and, of course, a prosperous New Year!




Allen Gilliam

ADEQ State Pretreatment Coordinator



From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us
[mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Tenace,
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2015 8:18 AM
To: 'pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us'
Subject: [Pharmwaste] "Intersex" male bass found throughout protected
Northeast US waters




Eighty-five percent of male smallmouth bass tested in or nearby 19 National
Wildlife Refuges in the U.S. Northeast had signs of female reproductive
parts, according to a new
<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651315301093> federal

The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, also reported that 27 percent of male largemouth bass in the
testing sites were intersex.

The study is the first of its kind in National Wildlife Refuges and adds to
growing evidence that endocrine disrupting chemicals are getting into U.S.
lakes, rivers, streams and reservoirs—no matter how protected the waters
seem. And such contamination seems to affect the reproductive development of
some fish species, which can lead to threatened populations.

For the bass in this study, those considered “intersex” either had a protein
that is used to make egg yolk typically found in females, or immature egg
cells in their testes, said co author Fred Pinkney, a biologist with the
U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife.

“The eggs were in the very, very early stages,” he added.

But any change to fish reproductive systems could possibly threaten overall
fish populations and ability to properly reproduce.

During the fall seasons of 2008 to 2010, the researchers tested a total of
118 male smallmouth bass from 12 locations and 85 percent were intersex.
They tested an additional 173 male largemouth bass from 27 sampling sites
and 27 percent were intersex.

It’s not entirely clear why the bass were intersex as the researchers did
not test the waters for specific chemicals, said lead author Luke Iwanowicz,
a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

However, the suspected culprits of the sex changes are endocrine disrupting

This includes hormones, industrial chemicals and pesticides that are or
mimic estrogen hormones. These compounds enter rivers and streams via
permitted effluents, stormwater and agricultural runoff, and wastewater
treatment plants, where excreted birth control and natural estrogens pass
through relatively un-altered.

The study is just the latest to find intersex fish in U.S. waterways and
builds on a  <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19717194> U.S. Geological
Survey study in 2009 that showed intersex male fish in nine U.S. river
basins, though that study didn't include Northeast basins. The bass tested
in the Northeast waterways had a higher prevalence of intersex than the fish
in the 2009 study. 

It seems that certain fish species may be more sensitive to estrogenic
compounds than others, as evidenced by the disparity between largemouth and
smallmouth bass in this study. Previous studies also have reported that
smallmouth bass seem more susceptible to intersex changes.

However it’s not clear if this is actual physical sensitivity to the
chemicals or if it’s due to some species spending more time in more
contaminated habitats.

National Wildlife Refuges are areas protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. There are more than 560 such refuges nationally.

The national refuges tested spanned from eastern Ohio up to Maine and
included: the Patuxent Research, Susquehanna, Montezuma, Great Swamp,
Wallkill River, Great Meadows, Assabet River, Rappahannock River Valley,
Mason Neck, Back Bay, John Heinz, Erie, Cherry Valley, Great Bay, Lake
Umbagog, Sunkhaze Meadows, Missisquoi, Moosehorn and Ohio River Islands

Pinkney said the bass indicate that many aquatic species in Northeast U.S.
refuges may be exposed to estrogenic chemicals.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourages management actions that
reduce runoff into streams, ponds and lakes—both on and off of refuge
lands,” he said.



Laurie Tenace

Environmental Specialist

Waste Reduction Section

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

2600 Blair Stone Road, MS4555

Tallahassee, FL  32399

Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us



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