Survey of receiving-water environmental impacts ...



Title Survey of receiving-water environmental impacts associated with discharges from pulp mills: 2. Gonad size, liver size, hepatic erod activity and plasma sex steroid levels in white sucker
Author(s) Kelly R. Munkittrick, Glen J. Van Der Kraak, Mark E. McMaster, Cam B. Portt, Michael R. Van Den Heuvel, Mark R. Servos
Journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Date 1994
Volume 13
Issue 7
Start page 1089
End page 1101
Abstract Fish collected from the receiving areas of 12 Canadian pulp mills were examined, including sites receiving effluent from kraft mills using chlorine as well as sulfite mills. Field collections included sampling of receiving water for chemistry and toxicity testing, and sampling of local fish for organ weights, hepatic MFO (ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase, EROD) activity, plasma steroid levels, and levels of liver dioxins. The main objectives of this study were to determine whether the discharge of effluent from pulp mills to sites other than Jackfish Bay was associated with physiological or biochemical disruptions in wild fish, whether there was any correlation between waste treatment and the presence of biological responses in wild fish, and whether there was any association between the use of chlorine as a bleaching agent and these responses. Although white sucker collected near bleached kraft mills exhibited the highest EROD induction and dioxin levels, elevated enzyme activity was observed in fish from sites that did not use chlorine, and depressions in plasma sex steroid levels was not correlated with the level of EROD activity. The absence of chlorine bleaching or the presence of secondary treatment did not eliminate responses in fish, including decreased circulating levels of sex steroids, decreased gonadal size, and increased liver size. This survey has shown that (a) induction of hepatic EROD enzymes and depressions of plasma sex steroid levels during gonadal growth are found downstream of several pulp mills; (b) these changes are seen at some mills without chlorine bleaching and at mills that have secondary treatment; (c) substantial dilutions of nontoxic effluent do not appear to remove these responses; (d) the dominant factor determining the presence or absence of responses appeared to be dilution level; and (e) lab toxicity tests on invertebrates, rainbow trout, and fathead minnows could not predict the presence of these responses in wild fish.

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