The effects of chemicals discharged into the environment

Research on fish in the laboratory and on wild populations is establishing effects of chemicals and drugs discharged into the environment on fish health and their potential effects on human-health.

Professor Charles Tyler and his team have identified chemicals in discharges from wastewater treatment works that cause the feminisation of male fish and proven that moderately to severely feminised males are less able to breed. Furthermore, lifelong exposure to an oestrogenic effluent (at full strength) causes complete feminisation of males, with the potential for population level consequences.

Researchers in the team are also developing the application of the zebrafish as a key model for understanding the toxicodynamics of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, designed to treat major illnesses, for improving understanding on their health impacts. Research has also discovered that some commonly used everyday chemicals that are released into the environment can have an impact on human and animal health.

Professor Tyler is using transgenic zebrafish models to investigate where and how certain chemicals affect the body.