Project Number # 2034
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Background and Relevance
Much of the work on endocrine disruption from exposure to environmental contaminants has been carried out on the estrogenic axis. In the last decade substantial effort has been put into the development of bioassays to assess the estrogenicity of various waters including drinking water, ground water, surface water and wastewater. But the endocrine system is not simply about estrogenic activity, and several other hormonal systems (such as androgens, progestagens, glucocorticoids, retinoids, thyroid etc) play a rucial role in the maintenance of homeostasis, sexual development, metabolism, growth and behaviour. Substantially less information is available on those other endocrine endpoints, although it is becoming clear that these pathways can also be disrupted by exposure to environmental contaminants. Methods that rely on biological activity are finding increasing utility as screening tools, because the chemical nature of the endocrine disrupting sample may be unknown and/or difficult to quantify/identify, and the iological method may be the best (or only) indicator of biological activity. This is particularly true for those less-studied endocrine endpoints, where the causative chemical(s) is/are often unknown. This project continues and expands on previous GWRC efforts to develop and validate methods to measure estrogenic activity in water to include a range of substantially less well-studied endocrine endpoints.