HPLC-fluorescence detection and adsorption of bisphenol A, 17beta-estradiol, and 17alpha-ethynyl estradiol on powdered activated carbon

Water Res. 2003 Aug;37(14):3530-7. doi: 10.1016/S0043-1354(03)00239-2.


The adsorption of three estrogenic compounds (bisphenol A (BPA), 17beta-estradiol (E2), and 17alpha-ethynyl estradiol (EE2)) on several powdered activated carbons (PAC) was investigated. Without preconcentration, method detection limits (MDL) using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection at an excitation wavelength of 280 nm and an emission wavelength of 310 nm were 0.88, 1.15, and 0.96 nM for BPA, E2, and EE2, respectively. Compound recoveries were >90% in raw drinking water matrices. PAC screening studies (six PAC brands) indicated all three compounds were removed by PAC, but the percentage removal ranged from 31% to >99% based upon PAC type/dosage and presence/absence of natural organic matter. The order of removal (E2>EE2>BPA) corresponded with logK(ow) values for the compounds (3.1-4.0, 3.7-3.9, 3.3, respectively). Kinetic and PAC dose-response experiments were conducted with the two best performing PACs. Increasing contact time and PAC dose improved compound removal. Freundlich isotherm parameters were fit to the experimental data. This study confirms that PAC treatment is feasible for >99% removal of three estrogenic compounds from raw drinking waters that may be at risk for containing such compounds, at least at initial concentration of 500 ng/l and higher.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Estradiol / chemistry
  • Estradiol / isolation & purification*
  • Estradiol Congeners / chemistry
  • Estradiol Congeners / isolation & purification*
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / isolation & purification*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / chemistry
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / isolation & purification*
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / isolation & purification*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Estradiol Congeners
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Phenols
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estradiol
  • Carbon
  • bisphenol A