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Issue 1, 2011
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Occurrence of estrogenic chemicals in South Korean surface waters and municipal wastewaters

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Abstract

Broad scale monitoring of estrogenic compounds was performed at 19 sampling points throughout the Yeongsan and Seomjin river basins and 5 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) adjacent to the Gwangju area, Korea, from December 2005 to August 2007. The concentrations of estrogenic compounds, including estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2), 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2), bisphenol-A, nonylphenol (NP) and 4-octylphenol (OP), in the samples was measured with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition, the estrogenic activities throughout the river were investigated using the E-screen assay. Of the six estrogenic chemicals, NP (114.6–336.1 ng L−1) and EE2 (0.23–1.90 ng L−1) were detected at the highest and lowest levels, respectively in both the river waters and the WWTP effluents. Bisphenol-A showed the largest concentration range, from 7.5 to 335 ng L−1. The concentrations of E1, E2 and octylphenol ranges were 3.6–69.1, 1.2–10.7, and 2.2–16.9 ng L−1, respectively. According to the calculated estradiol equivalent concentration (EEQ); however, no estrogenic contribution was observed due to the phenolic compounds in the river waters and effluents. E1 and E2 dominated in both the river water and effluent samples, with contributions to the calculated EEQ of over 79 and 77%, respectively. Conversely, EE2 was rarely detected in the river waters (21%) and effluents (0%). The largest contribution of EE2 to the calculated EEQ was 21% in the river water at S-7. The levels of E1, E2, and EE2 were remarkably decreased in the effluents, indicating that the 5 WWTPs did not contribute to the estrogenic effect of the receiving streams. Overall, the WWTPs did not contributed to the estrogenic activity of the receiving waters, but the livestock industry or wildlife may play an important role in the estrogenic contribution to river water.

Graphical abstract: Occurrence of estrogenic chemicals in South Korean surface waters and municipal wastewaters

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 May 2010, accepted on 09 Sep 2010 and first published on 02 Nov 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00204F
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2011,13, 101-109
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    Occurrence of estrogenic chemicals in South Korean surface waters and municipal wastewaters

    J. Ra, S. Lee, J. Lee, H. Y. Kim, B. J. Lim, S. H. Kim and S. D. Kim, J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 101
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00204F

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