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Environ Sci Technol. 2003 Aug 1;37(15):3430-4.

Removal of estrogenic activity from municipal waste landfill leachate assessed with a bioassay based on reporter gene expression.

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Department of Biology V (Ecology, Ecotoxicology, Ecochemistry), Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52056 Aachen, Germany.


The leachate of a municipal waste landfill was tested for estrogenic activity using a reporter-gene-based bioassay with a human breast-cancer-derived cell line (MVLN cells). The leachate was processed with two different membrane-employing processes operating in parallel. One process consists of aerobic biological degradation, ultrafiltration, and subsequent adsorption to activated carbon. The second process was a reverse osmosis treatment of the raw leachate. Both processes are common in the treatment of landfill leachate. Here, the efficacy of the two processes to remove "estrogenicity" was compared. Both treatment processes removed more than 97% of the estrogenic activity, calculated as estradiol equivalents (EEQs), but they were not equally effective. After adsorption to activated carbon, no estrogenicity was detected, whereas concentrated effluent of the reverse osmosis treatment still elicited an estrogenic response in the bioassay. On the basis of chemical analysis, it is proposed that bisphenol A was responsible for the majority of estrogenic activity in the raw and treated leachate. Although the contribution of treated leachate to the estrogenic load on the aquatic environment seems to be low compared to that of sewage treatment works, the high estrogenic activity in raw landfill leachate stresses the necessity for the appropriate treatment of these leachates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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