Skip to main content


Title: Endocrine disruption horizon scanning: aquatic invertebrates review
Author: R. Benstead S.D. Roast
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1120, Representation ID: 356, Object ID: 2385
In 1999, the Environment Agency commissioned a review of the literature on endocrine disruption (ED) in invertebrates. This report provides an update on the 1999 review, examining the literature from 1999 to 2007. It also explores whether any of the knowledge gaps identified or recommendations made in the 1999 report have been addressed in the last seven years. The main findings of this review are as follows: - Research into ED in invertebrates has continued at a steady pace since 1999. - A considerable proportion of that effort has been spent on simple concentration and effect studies, either using new chemicals on well-established test organisms (such as Daphnia or mysids), or using well-tested EDCs (such as tributyl tin (TBT) or nonylphenol) on new species. The value of this research is questionable. - Although there have been some advances since 1999, our understanding of invertebrate endocrine systems remains generally poor. This gap was highlighted in the 1999 report and remains to be filled. - Some advances have been made in our understanding of the mollusc endocrine system, and this may provide a way forward for the use of molluscs as environmental monitors or test organisms for ED. - The majority of ED research on invertebrates has been laboratory based. There are comparatively few studies of ED in invertebrates living in their natural environment. - Little is known about the potential ‘real-world’ effects of ED. With the exception of the well-known impacts of TBT on gastropods, there is little evidence demonstrating ED impacts on natural invertebrate populations. - Some progress has been made towards the use of new testing and monitoring species (such as gastropods). - Daphnids, copepods and mysids remain important laboratory species for EDC testing and screening strategies. To summarise, all of the gaps in ED research identified in 1999 remain today to some extent. Thus, we still need to gain a better understanding of (a) invertebrate endocrine systems in general, and (b) population level effects in the natural environment. These in turn will strengthen any subsequent ED risk assessment or strategy, as they will demonstrate (a) whether effects are occurring specifically due to ED (and not the general toxicity of the compound), and (b) whether natural populations are being affected by ED.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: RiversInvertebratesCoastal watersEstuariesBrackishwater environmentFreshwater ecologyMarine environment
Extent: 65
Total file downloads: 294

Download PDF    Display PDF in separate tab