Study: Sunscreen sexually alters fish

Nov 15, 2005

Sunscreen residue washed off in showers and sinks is reportedly sexually altering some male fish off the Southern California coast.

A University of California-Riverside scientist told the Riverside Press-Enterprise a chemical used in sunscreen products is causing some male fish to develop ovary tissue and female egg proteins.

Dan Schlenk said oxybenzone -- which protects skin from ultraviolet light and mimics the chemical properties of estrogen -- survives the sewage-treatment process and settles on the ocean floor. It then is consumed by bottom-dwelling fish, such as sole and turbot.

Schlenk told the Press-Enterprise although the chemical is similar in structure to estrogen, the female sex hormone, for some undetermined reason natural estrogen apparently doesn't feminize male fish.

A professor of aquatic eco-toxicology, Schlenk presented his study during this week's 26th annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, in Baltimore.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Lethal wounds on skull may indicate 430,000-year-old murder

Related Stories

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

May 21, 2015

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science ...

More male fish "feminized" by pollution on the Basque coast

Mar 28, 2014

The UPV/EHU's Cell Biology in Environmental Toxicology group has conducted research using thick-lipped grey mullet and has analysed specimens in six zones: Arriluze and Gernika in 2007 and 2008, and since then, Santurtzi, ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.