Select endocrine disrupting organic chemicals were measured in treated wastewater from Chicago, IL, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Detroit, MI, and Milwaukee, WI, and in the Des Plaines, Illinois, and Minnesota Rivers during the fall of 1997 and the spring of 1998. Emphasis was given to alkylphenolpolyethoxylate (APEO) derived compounds, although 17-??-estradiol, bisphenol A, caffeine, total organic carbon, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and other compounds also were measured. Contaminants were isolated by continuous liquid-liquid extraction (CLLE) with methylene chloride and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in full scan and selected ion monitoring modes. The extracts were derivatized to form the methyl esters of alkylphenolethoxycarboxylates (APEC), and EDTA was isolated by evaporation and derivatized to form the tetrapropyl ester. The mass spectra of nonylphenol (NP) and octylphenol (OP) compounds are complex and show variations among the different ethoxylate and carboxylate homologs, reflecting variations in the ethylene oxide chain length. Recoveries for target compounds and surrogate standards ranged from 20-130%, with relative standard deviations of 9.9-53%. Detection limits for the various compounds ranged from 0.06-0.35 ??g/L. Analysis of the wastewater effluents detected a number of compounds including NP, NPEO, OP, OPEO, NPEC, caffeine, and EDTA at concentrations ranging from <1-439 ??g/L, with EDTA and NPEC being most abundant. There was variability in compound distributions and concentrations between the various sewage treatment plants, indicating differences in treatment type and influent composition. Several wastewater-derived compounds were detected in the river samples, with EDTA and NPEC persisting for considerable distance downstream from wastewater discharges, and NP and NPEO being attenuated more rapidly.
Additional publication details
Potential endocrine disrupting organic chemicals in treated municipal wastewater and river water