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Comparison of in vitro estrogenic activity and estrogen concentrations insource and treated waters from 25 U.S. drinking water treatment plants

February 1, 2017

In vitro bioassays have been successfully used to screen for estrogenic activity in wastewater and surface water,
however, few have been applied to treated drinking water. Here, extracts of source and treated water samples
were assayed for estrogenic activity using T47D-KBluc cells and analyzed by liquid chromatography-Fourier transform
mass spectrometry (LC-FTMS) for natural and synthetic estrogens (including estrone, 17β-estradiol, estriol,
and ethinyl estradiol). None of the estrogenswere detected above the LC-FTMS quantification limits in treated samples
and only 5 source waters had quantifiable concentrations of estrone, whereas 3 treated samples and 16 source
samples displayed in vitro estrogenicity. Estrone accounted for themajority of estrogenic activity in respective samples,
however the remaining samples that displayed estrogenic activity had no quantitative detections of known estrogenic
compounds by chemical analyses. Source water estrogenicity (max, 0.47 ng 17β-estradiol equivalents
(E2Eq) L−1) was below levels that have been linked to adverse effects in fish and other aquatic organisms. Treated
water estrogenicity (max, 0.078 ng E2Eq L−1) was considerably below levels that are expected to be biologically
relevant to human consumers. Overall, the advantage of using in vitro techniques in addition to analytical chemical
determinations was displayed by the sensitivity of the T47D-KBluc bioassay, coupled with the ability tomeasure cumulative
effects of mixtures, specifically when unknown chemicals may be present.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Comparison of in vitro estrogenic activity and estrogen concentrations insource and treated waters from 25 U.S. drinking water treatment plants
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.02.093
Authors Justin M. Conley, Nicola Evans, Heath Mash, Laura Rosenblum, Kathleen Schenck, Susan Glassmeyer, Edward T. Furlong, Dana W. Kolpin, Vickie S. Wilson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Environment
Series Number
Index ID 70182740
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Branch of Analytical Serv (NWQL)