Get access

Substances with estrogenic activity in effluents of sewage treatment plants in southwestern Germany. 1. Chemical analysis

Authors

  • Peter Spengler,

    1. Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management, University of Stuttgart, Bandtäle 2, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Wolfgang Körner,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 18, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jörg W. Metzger

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management, University of Stuttgart, Bandtäle 2, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
    • Institute of Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management, University of Stuttgart, Bandtäle 2, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

A gas chromatography/mass spectrometry method for the simultaneous quantitative determination of natural and synthetic estrogens (17β-estradiol, estrone, 17α-ethinylestradiol, and mestranol), phytoestrogens (genistein and β-sitosterol), and xenoestrogens (benzyl butyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, bisphenol A, 4-nonylphenol [NP], 4-nonylphenoxyacetic acid [NP1EC], 4-nonyl-phenol diethoxylate [NP2EO], and α-endosulfan) in effluents of sewage treatment plants (STPs) was developed. Identification and quantification were carried out with the standard addition method using analyte-specific and, in some cases, deuterium-labeled internal standards. The effluents of 18 STPs were investigated. Apart from α-endosulfan and mestranol, all selected substances were detected in the majority of samples. The median concentrations of steroidal estrogens were between 0.4 ng/L (17α-ethiny-lestradiol) and 1.6 ng/L (17β-estradiol). The metabolites of the nonylphenol polyethoxylates, NP, NP1EC, and NP2EO were found in concentrations ranging from the upper-ng/L-range (NP) to the lower-μg/L range (NP1EC). For all substances except mestranol and α-endosulfan, median values were calculated and compared to the results of other investigations in Europe and the United States. Possible dependencies of measured concentrations on the geographical location, the capacity, the influent composition, and the technical fitting of the STPs are discussed.

Ancillary