Two-generation reproduction study with para-tert-octylphenol in rats
Octylphenol (OP) is a commercial intermediate used primarily for the production of octylphenol polyethoxylate surfactants. To determine potential reproductive toxicity of OP, a two-generation reproduction study was conducted according to U.S. EPA OPPTS Guideline 870.3800 (draft 1996). Additional measurements were made on retained F2 offspring. OP was administered ad libitum to five groups of rats (30/sex) at dietary concentrations of 0, 0.2, 20, 200, or 2000 ppm. The 0.2 ppm concentration was included to evaluate potential low dose effects. Effects were observed only at 2000 ppm, including decreased body weights in adults and during the latter portion of lactation in offspring and minor body weight-related delays in acquisition of vaginal opening and preputial separation. No effects on reproductive parameters, testes, prostate, or ovary weights or morphology, on sperm counts, motility, morphology, production, or on estrous cyclicity were observed. No estrogen-like effects were evident. The NOAELs for systemic and postnatal toxicity were 200 ppm and at or above 2000 ppm for reproductive toxicity. This study supports the increasing evidence that screening assays for estrogenic activity or studies with limited numbers of animals and/or unrealistic dose regimens are inappropriate for use in the assessment of human health and environmental risk. It does not support previous preliminary data on low dose effects of OP.