Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on health of aquatic organisms
August 2014 - December 2016
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a nationwide issue affecting populations of fish and wildlife. EDC’s are chemicals that interfere with biochemical and physiological processes through disruption of normal homeostasis of endocrine systems and function. The dysfunction that can result from EDCs may be manifest as reduced reproduction, suppressed immunocompetence, altered development, or a host of other maladies that subsequently affect population size and dynamics. The widespread occurrence of EDCs in our nation’s waters has been documented and includes chemicals with origins from industrial activities, agricultural activities, and municipal wastewaters. However, assessment of the biological impacts of EDCs on populations of fish and wildlife, and in particular those populations that are our trust resources of the Department of Interior (DOI), have lagged behind the chemical measurements of EDCs in the environment. Aquatic and terrestrial natural resources are subject to multiple uses, and as a consequence, organisms are subject to multiple stressors. Informed decision making weighs the benefits and the risks associated with the stresses that come with the inevitable multi-use scenarios, including exposure to EDCs. Therefore, the goal of this Research Work Order (RWO) is to develop tool and information on the risks associated with EDC exposures to our DOI aquatic resources. Quantitative evaluation of risks and associated uncertainties are critical for sound resource management. The specific objectives of this RWO are to: 1) develop models to quantify dose-response relationships of EDCs in species of concern; and 2) evaluate how risk estimates of EDCs to wildlife populations translate from physiological indicators to population level outcomes.