In recent years, concerns have been raised that low concentrations of chemicals may alter the normal functions of the endocrine system, resulting in potentially significant adverse effects on growth, reproduction, and/or development. For domestic wastewater discharges to surface
water bodies, estrogenic activity of effluents has been suggested by chemical analysis, “biomarkers”, and /or in vitro assays. During a two-year project funded by Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) approaches to evaluate the potential for biomarker formation as
a result of effluent exposures, and the subsequent relevance of the emerging assays and physiological measurements on potential adverse impacts to individuals or populations of fish in the receiving streams were studied. The endocrine system is complex, and many factors can influence the physiological
measurements, including methods, sex, age, reproductive status, seasonal and circadian rhythms, diet, temperature, etc. and produce transient changes in physiology but no significant effect on the individual.
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