Fate and Transport of Natural Steroid Hormones in the Environment

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Significant quantities of naturally produced steroid hormones are being released to the environment, despite the fact that they are the most highly potent endocrine disruptors. Few laboratory studies have shown that these compounds can degrade rapidly both in water and soil. Nevertheless, a continuous occurrence of such highly potent steroid hormones in our water resources becomes the reason for increasing environmental and public health concern. These compounds are consistently detected in surface and ground waters, and the recorded concentrations in the environment significantly exceeded the reported low observable effect concentration of 1 ng L-1 for 17beta-estradiol (E2). This study reviews the current knowledge of the occurrence, fate and transport of 17ß-estradiol and testosterone in the environment. Furthermore, factors and processes that affect the mobility of these compounds in the environment are highlighted. It was found that these hormones, together with their metabolites, may persist in soil or sediments for several months, and their mobility and behavior in the environment need to be well understood. It should also be noted that despite the fact that the largest potential source of these compounds is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), the current generally accepted livestock waste management practices are not adequately or effectively protect our water resources. Thus, further researches about how to enhance their removal efficiency in animal manures as well as wastewater are of paramount importance.

Keywords: Androstenedione; emerging contaminants; endocrine disruptorts; estrogen; manure; testosterone; vitellogenin

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864709793900474

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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