In this study serum levels of bisphenol A (BPA) were investigated in primiparous women from Uppsala County, Sweden, sampled 3weeks after delivery 1996-2011, in both yearly pools of serum (n=39, temporal trend study) and in 208 individual samples also present in the pools. Possible contamination risks of BPA from blood sampling equipment and sample tubes, as well as from handling of the samples were evaluated. The unconjugated form of BPA was analyzed using a UPLC-MS/MS method with a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.2ng/ml. The results show that the levels of unconjugated BPA generally were <0.2ng/ml. The sampling equipment used when taking blood samples from the women and the tubes used for storage and processing of samples did not show any detectable BPA leakage. In the first analysis of the serum samples, unconjugated BPA levels ≥0.2ng/ml were found in 12% of the individual samples and in 21% of the trend samples. However, in reanalyses of individual serum samples from the same aliquot or from new aliquots, samples with BPA levels ≥0.2ng/ml in the first analysis did not have quantifiable BPA levels. Moreover, 11% of BPA spiked calibration samples (over 200) had higher levels than could be explained by the random error of the method. Thus BPA contamination of the biobanked samples probably occurred randomly during sample handling, pooling and processing. Equipment used for sampling of children and repeated blood sampling were leaking BPA. The results show the difficulties in analyzing compounds where samples are easily contaminated from exogenous sources. It also points out that it is questionable to use biobanked samples unless absence of BPA contamination from the sampling and storage materials, and during handling of the samples, can be proven.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their metabolites are environmental chemical contaminants which can produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) by auto-oxidation of di-hydroxy PCBs as well as the reduction of quinones and redox-cycling. We investigate the hypothesis that 2-(4-chlorophenyl)benzo-1,4-quinone (4-Cl-BQ), a metabolite of 4-chlorobiphenyl (PCB3), induced ROS-signaling inhibits cellular proliferation. Monolayer cultures of exponentially growing asynchronous human non-malignant prostate epithelial cells (RWPE-1) were incubated with 0-6 μM of 4-Cl-BQ and harvested at the end of 72 h of incubation to assess antioxidant enzyme expression, cellular ROS levels, cell growth, and cell cycle phase distributions. 4-Cl-BQ decreased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) activity, protein, and mRNA levels. 4-Cl-BQ treatment increased dihydroethidium (DHE) fluorescence, which was suppressed in cells pretreated with polyethylene glycol conjugated superoxide dismutase (PEG-SOD). The increase in ROS levels was associated with a decrease in cell growth, and an increase in the percentage of S-phase cells. These effects were suppressed in cells pretreated with PEG-SOD. 4-Cl-BQ treatment did not change the protein levels of phosphorylated H2AX at the end of 72 h of incubation, suggesting that the inhibition in cell growth and accumulation of cells in S-phase at the end of the treatments were probably not due to 4-Cl-BQ induced DNA double strand break. These results demonstrate that MnSOD activity and ROS-signaling perturb proliferation in 4-Cl-BQ treated in vitro cultures of human prostate cells.
Two major antifouling biocides used worldwide, Irgarol 1051 and diuron, and their degradation products in Shoreham Harbour and Brighton Marina, UK were studied during 2003-2004. The highest concentrations of Irgarol 1051 were 136 and 102 ng L(-1) in water and 40 and 49 ng g(-1) dry weight in sediments for Shoreham Harbour and Brighton Marina, respectively. As the degradation product of Irgarol 1051, M1 was also widespread, with the highest concentration of 59 ng L(-1) in water and 23 ng g(-1) in sediments in Shoreham Harbour, and 37 ng L(-1) in water and 5.6 ng g(-1) in sediments in Brighton Marina. The target compounds showed enhanced concentrations during the boating season (May-July), when boats were being re-painted (January-February), and where the density of pleasure crafts was high. Overall, the concentration of Irgarol 1051 decreased significantly from late 2000 to early 2004, indicating the effectiveness of controlling its concentrations in the marine environment following restricted use. Diuron was only detected in 14% of water samples, and mostly absent from sediment samples.
A major fraction of trace metals transported by rivers is associated with sediments, especially during flooding, when erosion and resuspension increase sediment loads. Upon contact with seawater in estuaries, changes in ionic strength and pH may remobilise trace metals from sediment surfaces into more bioavailable forms. The objective of the present work was to investigate time-dependent interactions between trace metals and freshwater sediments and their potential remobilisation upon contact with seawater. Two river sediments (one organic and one inorganic) were labelled with 109Cd2+, 65Zn2+ and 54Mn2+ radioactive tracers for periods up to 6 months. Sorption of tracers occurred rapidly (> or = 80% sorption, < 1 h), followed by a slower approach to pseudoequilibrium. Kd(6 months) were estimated as 460, 480 and 2200 ml/g (inorganic sediment) compared to 5300, 4000 and 1200 ml/g (organic sediment) for 109Cd, 65Zn and 54Mn, respectively. Remobilisation of tracers from labelled sediments was studied using sequential extractions. Artificial seawater extracts simulated an estuarine environment. Subsequent extractions provided information about more strongly sorbed tracer fractions within sediments. Remobilisation of 109Cd by seawater was significant (> 65%) and least affected by sediment type or freshwater labelling time. Redistribution of Cd to strongly bound phases was minimal (4% and 1% of 109Cd in strongly oxidisable fractions). Seawater remobilisation of 65Zn was significantly greater from the organic sediment (54%) compared to the inorganic sediment (8%), where a large fraction of 65Zn (14%) became irreversibly bound. Similarly, more 54Mn was remobilised by seawater from the organic sediment than the inorganic sediment (66% and 3% remobilised, respectively), i.e., 54Mn became more strongly bound in the inorganic sediment. A simple three-box model, based on first-order differential equations, was used to describe the interaction between tracers in spiked freshwater and two operationally defined sediment fractions ("seawater exchangeable" and "seawater unexchangeable") up to 6 months of freshwater labelling. Model simulations were fitted to experiment data and apparent rate constants were calculated using numerical optimisation methods. Sorption ratios from modelling data (i.e., k1/k2) were greater for organic compared to inorganic sediments, while fixation ratios were higher in inorganic sediments. In conclusion, trace metals can be remobilised from sediments on contact with seawater in estuaries. High organic content in sediments increased initial sorption of tracers but inhibited redistribution to more strongly bound fractions over time, resulting in greater remobilisation of tracers when in contact with seawater.
Although polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) production, and new uses for PCBs, was halted in the 1970s in the United States, PCBs continue to be used in closed systems and persist in the environment, accumulating in fatty tissues. PCBs are efficacious inducers of drug metabolism and may increase oxidative events and alter many other biochemical and morphologic parameters within cells and tissues. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a single, very low dose of PCB 126 (3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl), a coplanar, dioxin-like PCB congener and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, on redox status, metals homeostasis, antioxidant enzymes, and cellular morphology. To examine these parameters, male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a purified AIN-93 basal diet containing 0.2 ppm selenium for two weeks, then administered a single i.p. injection of corn oil (5 ml/kg body weight) or 1µmol PCB 126/kg body weight (326µg/kg body weight) in corn oil. Rats were maintained on the diet for an additional two weeks before being euthanized. This dose of PCB 126 did not alter feed intake or growth, but significantly increased liver weight (42%) and hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-450 (CYP1A) enzyme activities (10-40-fold increase). Hepatic zinc, selenium, and glutathione levels were significantly decreased 15%, 30%, and 20%, respectively, by PCB 126. These changes were accompanied by a 60% decrease in selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase activity. In contrast, hepatic copper levels were increased 40% by PCB 126. PCB 126-induced pathology was characterized by hepatocellular hypertrophy and mild steatosis in the liver and a mild decrease in cortical T-cells in the thymus. This controlled study in rats fed a purified diet shows that even a single, very low dose of PCB 126 that did not alter feed intake or growth, significantly perturbed redox and metals homeostasis and antioxidant and enzyme levels in rodent liver.
Several reports have indicated that low level of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposure can adversely affect a multitude of physiological disorders and diseases in in vitro, in vivo, and as reported in epidemiological studies. This investigation is focused on the possible contribution of two most prevalent PCB congeners in vitro in developing toxicities. We used PCBs 138 and 153 at the human equivalence level as model agents to test their specificity in developing toxicities. We chose a global approach using oligonucleotide microarray technology to investigate modulated gene expression for biological effects, upon exposure of PCBs, followed by Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), to understand the underlying consequence in developing disease and disorders. We performed in vitro studies with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), where PBMC cells were exposed to respective PCBs for 48 h. Overall, our observation on gene expression indicated that PCB produces a unique signature affecting different pathways, specific for each congener. While analyzing these data through IPA, the prominent and interesting disease and disorders were neurological disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, as well as endocrine system disorders, genetic disorders, and reproductive system disease. They showed strong resemblances with in vitro, in vivo, and in the epidemiological studies. A distinct difference was observed in renal and urological diseases, organisimal injury and abnormalities, dental disease, ophthalmic disease, and psychological disorders, which are only revealed by PCB 138 exposure, but not in PCB 153. The present study emphasizes the challenges of global gene expression in vitro and was correlated with the results of exposed human population. The microarray results give a molecular mechanistic insight and functional effects, following PCB exposure. The extent of changes in genes related to several possible mode(s) of action highlights the changes in cellular functions and signaling pathways that play major roles. In addition to understanding the pathways related to mode of action for chemicals, these data could lead to the identification of genomic signatures that could be used for screening of chemicals for their potential to cause disease and developmental disorders.
The production ban of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) technical mixtures has left the erroneous impression that PCBs exist only as legacy pollutants. Some lower-chlorinated PCBs are still being produced and contaminate both indoor and ambient air.
To inform PCB risk assessment, we characterized lung uptake, distribution, metabolism and excretion of PCB11 as a signature compound for these airborne non-legacy PCBs.
After delivering [(14)C]PCB11 to the lungs of male rats, radioactivity in 34 major tissues and 5 digestive matter compartments was measured at 12, 25, 50, 100, 200 and 720min postexposure, during which time the excreta and exhaled air were also collected. [(14)C]PCB11 and metabolites in lung, liver, blood, digestive matter, urine, feces, and adipose tissues were extracted separately to establish the metabolic profile of the disposition.
[(14)C]PCB11 was distributed rapidly to all tissues after 99.8% pulmonary uptake and quickly underwent extensive metabolism. The major tissue deposition of [(14)C]PCB11 and metabolites translocated from liver, blood and muscle to skin and adipose tissue 200min postexposure, while over 50% of administered dose was discharged via urine and feces within 12h. Elimination of the [(14)C]PCB11 and metabolites consisted of an initial fast phase (t½=9-33min) and a slower clearance phase to low concentrations. Phase II metabolites dominated in liver blood and excreta after 25min postexposure.
This study shows that PCB11 is completely absorbed after inhalation exposure and is rapidly eliminated from most tissues. Phase II metabolites dominated with a slower elimination rate than the PCB11 or phase I metabolites and thus can best serve as urine biomarkers of exposure.
Fully brominated diphenyl ether, decabromodiphenyl ether (DBDE), is one of the most widely used brominated flame retardants worldwide. Little data is available about the metabolic fate of DBDE in animal models and nothing at all about the extent of foetal exposure. In this work, pregnant Wistar rats were force-fed with 99.8% pure [14C]-DBDE over 96 h at a late stage of gestation (days 16 to 19). More than 19% of the administered dose was recovered in tissues and carcasses, demonstrating efficient absorption of DBDE despite its high molecular weight and low solubility. The highest concentrations of DBDE residues were found in endocrine glands (adrenals, ovaries) and in the liver, with lower values recorded for fat. In all tissue extracts, most of the radioactivity was associated with unchanged DBDE. The use of high-grade purity [14C]-DBDE allowed quantification of several metabolites present both in maternal tissues and in foetuses. These biotransformation products accounted for 9-27% of the extractable radioactivity in tissues and 14% of that in foetuses. Three nona-BDEs and one octa-BDE were identified by LC-APPI/MS. The unequivocal characterisation of a hydroxylated octa-BDE isolated from liver was confirmed by NMR. In rat, the main metabolic pathways of DBDE are debromination and oxidation. DBDE, and very likely most of its metabolites, are able to cross the placental barrier in rat. Metabolic profiles, obtained in vivo for the first time, demonstrated the presence of DBDE and major biotransformation products in endocrine glands as well as in foetuses. The biological activity of these metabolites still needs to be assessed in order to better understand the potential toxicity of DBDE.
An understanding of congener specific cellular absorption of PCBs is important to the study of the organ specific body burden of an individual and to their toxic effects. We have previously demonstrated that single PCB congeners induce cytotoxicity, as evidenced by decreased cellular viability and accelerated apoptotic death. There is very little, if any, information available on the differences in toxicity due to the nature of absorption of PCBs in different cells. To obtain such information human liver (HepG2) cells (in medium with 10% FBS) were exposed to 70 μM of both PCB-153 (non-coplanar hexachlorobiphenyl) and PCB-77 (coplanar tetrachlorobiphenyl), and human kidney (HK2) cells in serum free medium were exposed to 80 and 40 μM of PCB-153 and PCB-77 respectively, according to their LC(50) values in these cells. Medium and cells were collected separately at each time interval from 30 min to 48 h, and PCB concentrations were analyzed in both by GC-MS using biphenyl as an internal standard following hexane:acetone (50:50) extraction. We also performed trypan blue exclusion, DNA fragmentation and fluorescence microscopic studies in assessing cell viability and apoptotic cell death. About 40% of PCB-153 (35 μM, 50% of the maximum value) was detected in HepG2 cells within 30 min, and it reached its highest concentration at 6h (60 μM), concomitant with the PCB depletion in the medium (5 μM). For PCB-77, the highest concentrations within the cells were reached at 3h. However, the absorption levels of PCB-153 and PCB-77 in HK2 cells reached their peaks at 3 and 6h respectively. Exposure of human liver and kidney cells to PCB-153 and PCB-77 caused accelerated apoptotic cell death in a time-dependent manner. The studies demonstrated that (1) liver cells initiate the absorption of PCBs much faster than kidney cells; however, the concentration reaches its maximum level much earlier in kidney cells; (2) both PCB-153 and PCB-77 induced enhanced apoptotic death in liver and kidney cells; and (3) kidney cells are more vulnerable to PCBs based on the results of apoptosis and cellular viability, even with almost similar absorption or tissue burden of PCBs.
Alteration of DNA methylation is a major epigenetic mechanism associated with the effects of nongenotoxic carcinogens. We evaluated the effects of two environmental pollutants, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), 17-beta oestradiol (E(2)) as well as 5-aza 2' deoxycytidine (5AdC) on global DNA methylation levels (5-methyl 2' deoxycytidine) in the liver and gonads of the three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). HBCD at 30 and 300 ng/L of water did not produce statistically significant differences in global genomic methylation in liver of female stickleback. On the other hand, the methylation inhibitor, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, significantly lowered hepatic global methylation levels in these fish by 14% (P<0.05). The naturally occurring oestrogen, 17-beta oestradiol (E(2)) at 100 ng/L also decreased global DNA methylation levels in female liver but this effect was not statistically significant. In contrast, both E(2) and 5AdC caused statistically significant (P<0.001 and P<0.01 respectively) global genomic hypermethylation in the gonads of male sticklebacks although the increase seen in the female gonads was not statistically significant. The male gonad effect though unexplained may potentially be an indirect response to hypomethylation in other tissues (such as the liver) and may have important implications regarding oestrogenic effects in fish. The contrasting effects of HBCD and E(2) on global DNA methylation in stickleback should contribute to the integrated risk assessment of these environmental chemicals.
Humans are simultaneously exposed to a multitude of chemicals. Human health risk assessment of chemicals is, however, normally performed on single substances, which may underestimate the total risk, thus bringing a need for reliable methods to assess the risk of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. Per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs) is a large group of chemicals that has emerged as global environmental contaminants. In the Swedish population, 17 PFASs have been measured, of which the vast majority lacks human health risk assessment information. The objective of this study was to for the first time perform a cumulative health risk assessment of the 17 PFASs measured in the Swedish population, individually and in combination, using the Hazard Index (HI) approach. Swedish biomonitoring data (blood/serum concentrations of PFASs) were used and two study populations identified: 1) the general population exposed indirectly via the environment and 2) occupationally exposed professional ski waxers. Hazard data used were publicly available toxicity data for hepatotoxicity and reproductive toxicity as well as other more sensitive toxic effects. The results showed that PFASs concentrations were in the low ng/ml serum range in the general population, reaching high ng/ml and low μg/ml serum concentrations in the occupationally exposed. For those congeners lacking toxicity data with regard to hepatotoxicity and reproductive toxicity read-across extrapolations was performed. Other effects at lower dose levels were observed for some well-studied congeners. The risk characterization showed no concern for hepatotoxicity or reproductive toxicity in the general population except in a subpopulation eating PFOS-contaminated fish, illustrating that high local exposure may be of concern. For the occupationally exposed there was concern for hepatotoxicity by PFOA and all congeners in combination as well as for reproductive toxicity by all congeners in combination, thus a need for reduced exposure was identified. Concern for immunotoxicity by PFOS and for disrupted mammary gland development by PFOA was identified in both study populations as well as a need of additional toxicological data for many PFAS congeners with respect to all assessed endpoints.
17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) is a synthetic hormone, which is a derivative of the natural hormone, estradiol (E2). EE2 is an orally bio-active estrogen, and is one of the most commonly used medications for humans as well as livestock and aquaculture activity. EE2 has become a widespread problem in the environment due to its high resistance to the process of degradation and its tendency to (i) absorb organic matter, (ii) accumulate in sediment and (iii) concentrate in biota. Numerous studies have reported the ability of EE2 to alter sex determination, delay sexual maturity, and decrease the secondary sexual characteristics of exposed organisms even at a low concentration (ng/L) by mimicking its natural analogue, 17β-estradiol (E2). Thus, the aim of this review is to provide an overview of the science regarding EE2, the concentration levels in the environment (water, sediment and biota) and summarize the effects of this compound on exposed biota at various concentrations, stage life, sex, and species. The challenges in respect of EE2 include the extension of the limited database on the EE2 pollution profile in the environment, its fate and transport mechanism, as well as the exposure level of EE2 for better prediction and definition revision of EE2 toxicity end points, notably for the purpose of environmental risk assessment.
Few multi-city studies in Asian developing countries have examined the acute health effects of ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)). In the China Air Pollution and Health Effects Study (CAPES), we investigated the short-term association between NO(2) and mortality in 17 Chinese cities. We applied two-stage Bayesian hierarchical models to obtain city-specific and national average estimates for NO(2). In each city, we used Poisson regression models incorporating natural spline smoothing functions to adjust for long-term and seasonal trend of mortality, as well as other time-varying covariates. We examined the associations by age, gender and education status. We combined the individual-city estimates of the concentration-response curves to get an overall NO(2)-mortality association in China. The averaged daily concentrations of NO(2) in the 17 Chinese cities ranged from 26 μg/m(3) to 67 μg/m(3). In the combined analysis, a 10-μg/m(3) increase in two-day moving averaged NO(2) was associated with a 1.63% [95% posterior interval (PI), 1.09 to 2.17], 1.80% (95% PI, 1.00 to 2.59) and 2.52% (95% PI, 1.44 to 3.59) increase of total, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality, respectively. These associations remained significant after adjustment for ambient particles or sulfur dioxide (SO(2)). Older people appeared to be more vulnerable to NO(2) exposure. The combined concentration-response curves indicated a linear association. Conclusively, this largest epidemiologic study of NO(2) in Asian developing countries to date suggests that short-term exposure to NO(2) is associated with increased mortality risk.
Levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) were determined in the sediment and in several species (European flounder,Platichthys flesus; common sole, Solea solea; Chinese mitten crab,Eriocheir sinensis; shore crab, Carcinus maenas; brown shrimp,Crangon crangon; blue mussel, Mytilus edulis and bristle worms,Polychaeta) from 7 locations in the Scheldt estuary (SE, the Netherlands–Belgium). Overall POP levels in the sediment were low. The average PCB and PBDE concentrations were respectively 31.5 and 115 ng/g dry weight (dw). The highest sediment loads were measured in the vicinity of Antwerp (368 ng PCBs/g dw),a location with intense harbor and industrial activities. Pollution concentrations in the tissues of biota were species-specific. European flounder reached the highest contamination levels (from 12.9 to285 ng PCBs/g ww, from 0.25 to 3.97 ng PBDEs/g ww). The lowest tissue loads were measured in brown shrimp (from 3.27 to 39.9 ngPCBs/g ww, from 0.05 to 0.47 ng PBDEs/g ww). The PCB congener profile in most of the species was similar to the pattern found in the sediment. PCB 153 was the most abundant congener (16.5–25.7% in biota, 10.4% in sediment). In the sediment, the total amountof PBDEs consisted of more than 99% of BDE 209. Congener BDE 47had the highest concentrations in all sampled species (38.5–70.1%).Sediment POP loadings and tissue concentrations were poorly correlated,indicating that a simple linear or non-linear relationship is insufficient to describe this relationship, possible caused by the complexity of the bioaccumulation processes and the variability in exposure.Because of the high PCB levels, regular consumption of fish and seafood, especially mussels, from the Scheldt estuary should be avoided.
Concentrations, composition and interrelationships of selenium and metallic elements (Ag, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Ga, Mn, Mo, Pb, Rb, Sb, Sr, Tl, V and Zn) have been examined in muscle and organ meats of Red Deer hunted in Poland. The analytical data obtained were also discussed in terms of Se supplementation and deficit to Deer as well as the benefits and risk to humans associated with the essential and toxic metals intake resulting from consumption of Deer meat and products. These elements were determined in 20 adult animals of both sexes that were obtained in the 2000/2001 hunting season from Warmia and Mazury in the north-eastern part of Poland. The whole kidneys contained Ba, Cd, Cr, Ga, Pb, Se, Sr and Tl at statistically greater concentrations than liver or muscle tissue from the same animal. Liver showed statistically greater concentrations of Ag, Co, Cu, Mn and Mo than kidneys or muscle tissue, and muscle tissue was richer in Zn, when compared to the kidneys or liver. Cs and Rb were similarly distributed between all three tissue types, while V was less abundant in liver than kidneys or muscle tissue. There were significant associations between some metallic elements retained in Red Deer demonstrated by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the data set. In organ and muscle meats (kidneys, liver and muscle tissue considered together) the first principal component (PC1) was strongly influenced by positively correlated variables describing Se, Ba and Cd and negatively correlated variables describing Ag, Co, Cs, Mn, Pb, Tl and V; PC2, respectively, by Cu, Mn and Mo (+) and Zn (−); PC3 by Ga (+) and PC4 by Sb (+). Selenium occurred in muscle tissue, liver and kidneys at median concentrations of 0.13, 0.19 and 4.0 mg/g dry weight, respectively. These values can be defined as marginally deficient (
Specimens of the limpet Patella aspera were collected from a clean, coastal marine site and a contaminated estuary on the south coast of Portugal. The shells were analysed individually for their minor (Mg, Sr) and trace element (Fe, Mn, Zn) content. Mean concentrations of these elements in the shell of P. aspera were 4651, 1318, 35.8, 29.9 and 5.5 microg g(-1), respectively. The elemental concentrations exhibited both a marked intra- and inter-population variability. Despite the variability within individual populations, significant differences in the trace element composition were apparent between the shells taken from the two sites. Small shells (< 2 g) provided the best resolution between sites for both manganese and iron. Differences in zinc were best resolved for larger shells. The shell of P. aspera has an extraordinarily high magnesium concentration, which is insensitive to gross salinity differences, and a trace metal assemblage that can be interpreted in terms of environmental exposure. On these grounds, it is recommended that the shell of P. aspera is a tissue for potential use in environmental trace metal monitoring.
Single-species tests allow the assessment of chronical effects of endocrine disruptors on organisms under laboratory conditions. In the current study, three-generation tests with Ceriodaphnia reticulata and Sida crystallina were carried out to examine the influence of the synthetic hormone 17alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE) on the reproduction of these cladoceran species. For each species, six different concentrations (10-500 microg/l EE) and two controls were tested with eight replicates for a duration of 4 weeks. The test was initiated by transferring one neonate individual into a test vessel which was incubated under standardized conditions. Every 2 days, the medium was renewed and life history parameters such as survivorship of the adults and juveniles, clutch size, first appearance and number of produced offspring were investigated. Acute toxicity tests showed that C. reticulata (EC50 (24 h) 1814 microg/l) was more sensitive towards the substance compared to S. crystallina (EC50 (24 h) >4100 microg/l). The juvenile phase of S. crystallina was significantly shorter at concentrations above 100 microg/l EE. For C. reticulata, 17alpha-ethinylestradiol caused a higher mortality of the newly hatched juveniles at EE concentrations above 200 microg/l. No effects were found for mortality of adult animals, birth rate, number of juveniles per female and net reproduction rate of S. crystallina and C. reticulata. Thus, sublethal effects on parental generation exposed to EE lead to disturbances in reproduction and to affection of their offspring. Negative consequences for the population dynamic cannot be excluded, e.g. the decrease of a population.