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Chemosphere. 2009 Aug;76(8):1156-62. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 May 10.

GC-MS/MS measurement of natural and synthetic estrogens in receiving waters and mussels close to a raw sewage ocean outfall.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Memorial University, NL, Canada.


In recent times, there has been an increased concern over the appearance of human estrogens in marine ecosystem and their effects on the marine habitat. Discharge of raw sewage has been identified as one of the most important sources of human estrogens in the marine environment. Therefore, we have developed a gas chromatography-(ion-trap) mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry method for the analysis of natural estrogens estrone (E1), and 17beta-estradiol (E2) and synthetic estrogens 17alpha-ethynylestradiol (EE2) and diethylstilbestrol (DES) in sewage effluents, seawater and mussels. Recovery of target analytes from mussels (n=3) was above 60% with RSD ranging from 8% to 13%. For aqueous samples (n=3) recoveries were above 80% with RSD ranging from 3% to 7%. Method detection limits for the target analytes ranged from 0.1ngg(-1) to 1.0ng/g for mussel sample analysis and from 0.5ngL(-1) to 1.2ngL(-1) for water sample analysis. The usefulness of the method was demonstrated by analyzing environmental samples from St. John's and Halifax, Canada, where raw sewage is directly discharged into the harbors. Estrone and 17 beta-estradiol were found at 1.5ngL(-1) and 1.8ngL(-1) in seawater samples collected from St. John's harbor, while trace amounts of estrone was measured in some mussels collected from Halifax harbor.

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