Determination of Estrogenic Potential in Waste Water Without Sample Extraction

J Hazard Mater. 2013 Sep 15;260:527-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2013.06.009. Epub 2013 Jun 10.


This study describes the modification of the ER-Calux assay for testing water samples without sample extraction (NE-(ER-Calux) assay). The results are compared to those obtained with ER-Calux assay and a theoretical estrogenic potential obtained by GC-MSD. For spiked tap and waste water samples there was no statistical difference between estrogenic potentials obtained by the three methods. Application of NE-(ER-Calux) to "real" influent and effluents from municipal waste water treatment plants and receiving surface waters found that the NE-(ER-Calux) assay gave higher values compared to ER-Calux assay and GC-MSD. This is explained by the presence of water soluble endocrine agonists that are usually removed during extraction. Intraday dynamics of the estrogenic potential of a WWTP influent and effluent revealed an increase in the estrogenic potential of the influent from 12.9 ng(EEQ)/L in the morning to a peak value of 40.0 ng(EEQ)/L in the afternoon. The estrogenic potential of the effluent was <LOD (<0.68 ng(EEQ)/L). The overall reduction in estrogenic potential was 92-98%. Daytime estrogenic potential values varied significantly.

Keywords: ER-Calux(®); Estrogenic potential; GC–MSD; No extraction; Waste water.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives
  • Estradiol / analysis
  • Estriol / analysis
  • Estrogens / analysis*
  • Estrone / analysis
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Waste Water / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • 7alpha-methyl ethinylestradiol
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Estrogens
  • Waste Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Estrone
  • Estradiol
  • Estriol