Analysis and occurrence of estrogenic hormones and their glucuronides in surface water and waste water in The Netherlands

Sci Total Environ. 1999 Jan 12;225(1-2):101-8. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(98)00336-2.


An analytical procedure was developed that enables routine analysis of four estrogenic hormones in concentrations below 1 ng/l in surface water and waste water. The recovery was 88-98% with a limit of detection of 0.1-2.4 ng/l depending on the compound and the matrix measured. This method was used to determine the occurrence of 17 beta-estradiol, 17 alpha-estradiol, estrone and 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol in the aquatic environment in The Netherlands. The data show that estrogenic hormones can be detected at low concentrations (up to 6 ng/l) at some locations in surface water. In selected effluents of waste water treatment plants estrone and 17 beta-estradiol were detected in concentrations in the ng/l range. Concentrations of 17 alpha-estradiol and the contraceptive 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol were in most of these samples below the limit of detection. Hormone glucuronides were not detected in most surface water and effluents.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estradiol / analysis
  • Estrogens / analysis*
  • Estrogens / toxicity
  • Estrone / analysis
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / analysis
  • Female
  • Fresh Water / analysis
  • Glucuronates / analysis
  • Glucuronates / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Sewage / adverse effects
  • Sewage / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity


  • Estrogens
  • Glucuronates
  • Sewage
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Estrone
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estradiol