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Aquat Toxicol. 2008 Nov 21;90(3):182-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

Estrogenic activity and reproductive effects of the UV-filter oxybenzone (2-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenyl-methanone) in fish.

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Environmental Toxicology Program, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, United States.


Previous studies in extracts of sediments surrounding municipal outfalls off the coast of California, USA and effluents of New York City, NY, USA indicated the UV-filtering agent, oxybenzone (CAS# 131-57-7; benzophenone-3) as a potential estrogen. The effects of oxybenzone on estrogenic activity and reproduction were evaluated using a 14-day juvenile rainbow trout assay for plasma vitellogenin and a subsequent 21-day Japanese medaka reproduction assay. Significant induction of vitellogenin was observed in the rainbow trout at the 1000 microg/L nominal concentration (749 microg/L median measured value) of oxybenzone which was approximately 75 times greater than the concentrations observed in previous wastewater effluent. Vitellogenin induction was also observed in the 1000 microg/L nominal concentration (620 microg/L median measured) of oxybenzone in male Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) after 21 days of exposure. The number of eggs produced per female per day exposed to the same concentration (620 microg/L) were significantly lower after 7 days, but returned to control values after 21 days. Fertilized eggs were then monitored for 20 days to assess hatching success. The overall percentage of fertilized eggs collected during the 21-day exposure that hatched was significantly lower in the 620 microg/L oxybenzone concentration. There was also a temporal effect at this concentration as egg viability (percentage of fertilized eggs that hatched) was diminished 13-15 days after eggs were collected. All three oxybenzone concentrations (16, 132, and 620 microg/L) and the 50 ng/L estradiol positive control showed reduced hatching of eggs at day 15, and the 132 and 620 microg/L oxybenzone concentrations diminished the percentage of eggs that hatched on days 13-15. These data indicate that the UV-filter oxybenzone alters endocrine or reproduction endpoints in two fish species, but at concentrations significantly higher than those measured in the environment.

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