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High levels of plant-based estrogens discovered in some industrial wastewater.

Byline: ANI

Washington, August 11 (ANI): Civil engineering researchers in the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology have discovered high levels of plant-based estrogens Estrogens
Hormones produced by the ovaries, the female sex glands.

Mentioned in: Acne, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

estrogens (es´trōjenz),
, called phytoestrogens Phytoestrogens
Compounds found in plants that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

Mentioned in: Premenstrual Syndrome

phytoestrogens, plant-derived estrogen analogs.
, in some industrial wastewater.

In the study, civil engineering associate professor Paige Novak and her graduate student researcher Mark Lundgren studied wastewater streams from 19 different industrial sites in Minnesota and Iowa and analyzed them for six phytoestrogens.

They found very high concentrations of these hormone-mimicking phytoestrogens - up to 250 times higher than the level at which feminization feminization /fem·i·ni·za·tion/ (fem?i-ni-za´shun)
1. the normal development of primary and secondary sex characters in females.

2. the induction or development of female secondary sex characters in the male.
 of fish has been seen in other research - in the wastewater discharged from eight industrial sites, including biodiesel plants, a soy milk Soy milk (also called soya milk or soybean milk) and sometimes referred to as soy drink/beverage and even soy latte) is a beverage made from soybeans originating from China.  factory, a barbecue meat processing facility and a dairy.

They also detected high concentrations of phytoestrogens in the water discharged by some municipal wastewater treatment plants Wastewater treatment plant also called wastewater treatment works
  • Sewage treatment – treatment and disposal of human waste.
  • Industrial wastewater treatment – the treatment of wet wastes from manufacturing industry and commerce including mining, quarrying and

The good news is that the researchers revealed that phytoestrogens can be removed from water as it goes through standard treatment.

In fact, they saw more than 90 percent removal of these compounds from the water.

Unfortunately, sometimes 99 percent removal is needed to reach levels that are considered harmless to fish.

Plant-based phytoestrogens are naturally occurring but have been shown to function as hormone mimics and alter development and reproductive patterns in fish.

These effects include decreased aggression, immunosuppression immunosuppression

Suppression of immunity with drugs, usually to prevent rejection of an organ transplant. Its aim is to allow the recipient to accept the organ permanently with no unpleasant side effects.
, and decreased testosterone production.

Other estrogens that cause similar effects have been linked to population-level collapse in fish, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.


"Many people have looked at human-related chemicals such as those in birth control pills birth control pill
See oral contraceptive.

birth control pill Oral contraceptive, see there
 as the primary source of estrogens in the water supply, but they have not looked at plant-based estrogens from a wide variety industries," Novak said.

"Our research is the first study of its kind to provide a snapshot in time of what is going on in these industries. We hope that it can be used in planning new industrial sites and expansion of current sites," she added.

Novak pointed out that some of these industrial facilities are in small towns without sophisticated wastewater treatment plants.

In these locations, there is potential for impacts on fish and wildlife.

"Our nation (US) needs to do some careful planning as we rapidly expand various plant processing industries," Novak said.

"We need to include good wastewater treatment into our industrial plant designs.

We also need to think broadly as we look for the causes of fish feminization in various streams, rivers and lakes, as well as possible solutions," she added. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Aug 11, 2009
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