Screening of endocrine-disrupting phenols, herbicides, steroid estrogens, and estrogenicity in drinking water from the waterworks of 35 Italian cities and from PET-bottled mineral water

Silvia Maggioni, Patrick Balaguer, Claudia Chiozzotto, Emilio Benfenati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigated contamination by endocrine-disrupting chemicals in drinking water from 35 major Italian cities and five popular Italian brands of bottled mineral water. The quality of Italian drinking water was assessed by combing chemical analysis with bioassay to quantify specific estrogenic contaminants and to characterize the actual biological effect of the mixture of chemicals present in drinking water including the contribution of not targeted compounds. The selected contaminants were natural and synthetic steroid estrogens, alkylphenols and bisphenol A, linuron, triazine herbicides, and their metabolites. A specific analytical method was developed based on solid phase extraction of 1 L of water and concentration to 100 μL for quantification by electrospray ionization liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, achieving quantification limits of 0. 05-0. 36 ng/L for herbicides and 0. 64-7. 70 ng/L for steroids and phenols. No steroid estrogens were detected in any of the samples, while bisphenol A and nonylphenols were detected in the ranges of 0. 82-102. 00 and 10. 30-84. 00 ng/L respectively. Herbicides and their degradation products, when present, were found from slightly above the quantification limits up to 49. 91 ng/L, mainly from cities in northern Italy. Chemical analyses were complemented by the performance of a bioassay for the determination of the estrogenic activity in the extracts based on the transactivation of estrogen receptor α-transfected reporter HeLa-ERE-Luciferase-Neomycin cell line. Activity was generally low with maximum estrogenicity of 13. 6 pg/L estradiol equivalents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1660
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Drinking water
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Estrogenic activity
  • HELN cell line
  • LC-ESI-MS/MS
  • PET-bottled mineral water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution

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