Laboratory-based acute toxicity data and physiological studies relating to natural and synthetic steroid estrogens in a range of animals and plants are reviewed. Steroid estrogens may induce adverse effects in animals that do or do not express the estrogen receptor, and in plants, and they may mimic other hormones or induce nonestrogenic effects. Although the findings of such studies should be treated with caution when extrapolated to possible environmental effects, the available data indicate that a wide range of effects may be manifested in a diversity of species. The environmental occurrence of the compounds and possible environmental exposure routes are also reviewed and discussed in relation to the laboratory-based acute toxicity data. While there are likely to be difficulties in relating some of the observed laboratory data to possible environmental effects, studies undertaken on fish are directly relevant because exposure pathways and concentrations were related to those occurring in the environment. Effects that may occur in the environment are discussed in relation to their significance to the individual and at the species level.
Scopus Subject Areas