State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project Id: 2010PA141B
Title: Coupled Analytical and Biological Analyses of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) of Emerging Concern in Municipal Wastewater Sources in Philadelphia
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 1st and 2nd
Focus Categories: Water Quality
Keywords: endocrine disrupting compounds, estrogenicity, bioassays
Principal Investigators: None; Achary, Mohan (Temple University School of Medicine)
Federal Funds: $ 17,500
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 35,000
Abstract: Problem: Recent advances in analytical capabilities have led to the detection of a novel class of pollutants referred to as emerging contaminants. These compounds are characterized by their persistence in the environment as well as their ability to interrupt the normal function of the endocrine system at very low concentrations, typically in the ng/L range. This effect is often observed downstream of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) where feminization of male fish has been observed and hypothetically linked to possible synergistic effects of these compounds on the estrogen receptor. While traditional analytical methods are useful for detecting the presence of these compounds, their biological effects are most comprehensively studied with biological assays such as the Yeast Estrogen Screen (YES) and the E-Screen utilizing MCF-7 breast cancer cells. In this study we propose the use of the above-mentioned assays coupled with instrumental analysis (LC-TQ-MS/MS, LC-QTOF, GC-MS/MS) for the evaluation of compounds of emerging concern.

Exogenous hormones and other hormone mimics (including pesticides, industrial additives and other man-made products) are persistently present in the environment due to their use in agricultural as well as the inadequate removal of these compounds from WWTP. As such the effluents from these plants are suspected to result in an increased level of estrogenicity in streams and altered hormonal function in aquatic organisms. The role of these compounds on humans is still not clear. The effect of these hormones alone and in combination with other compounds is also largely unknown. This study seeks to assess the biological effects of these hormones, estrogens in particular using bioassays and chemical analysis in WWTP effluents of Philadelphia. This project is therefore beneficial for environmental agencies with interest in protecting stream water quality in both public and private resources as well as wastewater treatment plants which seek to improve the quality of their effluents with special reference to EDCs.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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