Skip to main content

Free Content An Assessment of Endocrine Disrupting Activity Changes during Wastewater Treatment through the Use of Bioassays and Chemical Measurements

Download Article:
(HTML 86.1 kb)
(PDF 957.5 kb)


The objective of this study was to assess the removal efficiencies of secondary wastewater treatment processes for compounds causing endocrine disrupting activity. The study used bioassays and chemical measurements, such as gas chromatography with mass spectrometry and enzyme immunosorbent assays. A total of seven full-scale water reclamation facilities using different unit operations and two pilot-scale membrane bioreactors were examined. Findings of this study imply that estrogenic disrupting activity in primary effluent is mainly caused by two steroidal hormones (17β-estradiol and estriol) and, to a lesser extent, by synthetic chemicals, such as bisphenol A, 4-nonylphenol, and 4-tert-octylphenol. During secondary treatment, steroidal hormones were removed to a higher degree than nonylphenol and bisphenol A. The total estrogenic activity was removed by an average of 96%. The remaining concentrations of targeted steroids in secondary effluents, except for estriol, still had the potential to elicit a positive response in the human breast cell cancer assay. For the majority of facilities, the remaining activity was likely attributed to residual concentrations of two steroidal hormones (17β-estradiol and estriol).

Keywords: bioassays; emerging contaminants; endocrine disrupting compounds; primary effluent; secondary treatment; steroidal hormones; water reclamation and reuse

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • WEF Bookstore
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more