Study: Sunscreen sexually alters fish

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

More carbon in the ocean can lead to smaller fish

Citation: Study: Sunscreen sexually alters fish (2005, November 15) retrieved 31 October 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2005-11-sunscreen-sexually-fish.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments