Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2011
Publication Date: 2/15/2012
Publication URL: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.12.059
Citation: Lozano, N., Rice, C., Pagano, J., Zintek, L., Barber, L., Murphy, E.W., Nettesheim, T., Minarik, T., Schoenfuss, H. 2012. Tissue concentrations of organic contaminants in fish and their biological effects in a wastewater-dominated urban stream. Science of the Total Environment. 420:191-201. Interpretive Summary: Waste water effluent dominated streams in urban centers are often cited as possible hazards to humans and wildlife particularly related to endocrine disruption effects. However it continues to be difficult to verify a cause effect relationship. The relative concentrations of alkylphenol ethoxylate (APEs) and persistent organic pollutants were measured in spring- and fall- collected fish from a downtown Chicago waterway. Lower water temperatures in the spring cause increased exposure concentrations of the APEs and higher APEs concentrations in these fish versus fall-collected fish, however the persistent organic pollutant were unaffected by temperature. The concentrations gradients for the three highest residues in the fish were individual APE mixtures followed by a brominated flame retardant and then a DDT metabolite, and all the other persistent analytes had lower concentrations. Biological tests for endocrine effects showed that there was a positive correlation for increases in egg yolk precursor protein levels in male fish with concentration of the APEs; however histological differences were not observed. These data indicate that this effluent dominated streams had endocrine disrupting impacts on resident fish that could be correlated with higher APE discharges in the colder months of the year.
Technical Abstract: Data are presented on the fish tissue concentrations of persistent organic compounds and alkylphenol and alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) in large-mouth bass collected from a waste water dominated stream in downtown Chicago. The fish residue concentrations of APEs are compared to concentrations of the APEs in the water that was collected at weekly intervals over two months bracketing the fall (2006) and the spring (2007) fish collections. The concentrations of APEs were significantly higher in the spring -collected fish (5.42 ug/g) versus the fall (0.99 ug/g) and these differences were shared by differences in the water concentrations (spring-11.47 versus fall-3.44 ug/L). The differences in water concentration were negatively correlated with water temperatures observed over the two sampling times. Fish residue concentrations of persistent organic compounds (PCBs, PBDE’s, toxaphene, and many legacy pesticides including the DDT family) did not vary from fall to spring. Some of these residue concentrations were comparable to the highest NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) homologue mixture concentrations, e.g., NP1EO was 3.5 ug/g in the bass for the spring vs. 0.46 µg/g in the fall, then PBDE-congener 47 and p,p’-DDE averaged 1.0 µg/g and 0.5 µg/g, respectively, over both seasons. All the other persistent single-analyte concentrations were lower. Biological endpoints for endocrine effects measured in the same fish showed that there was an apparent positive correlation for physiological effects for increased vitellogenin levels in males versus concentration of NPEs. However, there were no observable histological differences in fall versus spring fish samples.