[Pharmwaste] CA fish pass contaminants to offspring
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Fri Dec 12 10:16:57 EST 2008
Gee, thanks Mom: California fish pass contaminants to offspring
Fish swimming in the Sacramento River, a major source of drinking-water
supplies, aren't just picking up industrial and farm chemicals from the water
and what they eat, they are passing the toxins on to their babies.
Testing by UC researchers found that striped bass eggs collected from the
river were contaminated with a harmful mixture of pesticides, flame
retardants and industrial chemicals that interfere with fish development and
The contaminants included 16 pesticides -- some currently in use and some
long-banned, like DDT -- as well as the flame retardant PBDE (polybrominated
diphenyl ethers) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), formerly used in the
manufacture of electrical transformers.
Larvae from the river eggs developed abnormally, grew more slowly and were
significantly smaller than baby fish from a hatchery. At 5 days old, the
river larvae exhibited smaller brains, shrunken livers and depleted energy
stores in their yolks, leaving them handicapped as they began their lives.
The contamination is likely contributing to the troubles of striped bass, one
of several sharply declining fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River
The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences, also raise questions about human impact.
"If the fish living in this water are not healthy and are passing on
contaminants to their young, what is happening to the people who use the
water, are exposed to the same chemicals or eat the fish?" wondered David
Ostrach, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the UC Davis
Center for Watershed Sciences.
"We should be asking hard questions about the nature and source of these
contaminants, as well as acting to stop the ongoing pollution and mitigate
these current problems."
One of California's major rivers, the Sacramento flows into the delta, which
is part of the largest estuary on the West Coast and a source of drinking and
irrigation water for much of the state.
Waste Reduction Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 4555
Tallahassee FL 32399-2400
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