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Environ Monit Assess. 2014 Jun;186(6):3337-50. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-3621-0. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Spatial and seasonal distribution of 17 endocrine disruptor compounds in an urban estuary (Mondego River, Portugal): evaluation of the estrogenic load of the area.

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Laboratory of Cellular, Molecular and Analytical Studies, Interdisciplinary Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), CIMAR Associate Laboratory (CIMAR LA), University of Porto (UPorto), Oporto, Portugal,


The Mondego River estuary demonstrates signs of pollution, but the levels of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), such as the natural (17β-estradiol and estrone) and pharmaceutical (17α-ethynylestradiol) estrogens, xenoestrogenic industrial pollutants (4-octylphenol, 4-nonylphenol, and their mono- and diethoxylates and bisphenol A), phytoestrogens (formononetin, biochanin A, daidzein, and genistein), and sitosterol were either poorly or never measured in this area. Thus, to conclude about the influx of EDCs in this estuary, water samples were taken every 2 months, during 1 year (2010) in low tide, at eight sites distributed along the estuary. Water samples (1 L) were preconcentrated in the Oasis HLB cartridges and cleaned in silica cartridges before their analysis by GC-MS. In summer, potentially hazardous amounts of estrogens (≈ 26 ng L(-1)), alkylphenols (≈ 11.5 μg L(-1)), alkylphenolethoxylates (≈ 13 μg L(-1)), and phytoestrogens (≈ 5.6 μg L(-1)) were measured. These data suggest that changes in the hydrodynamics of the estuary coupled with the increase of water temperatures interfere with the amount of EDCs in the water. Complementary physicochemical parameters also point to high levels of anthropogenic pollution in this area. Globally, the estrogenic load, expressed in ethynylestradiol equivalents, attained 71.8 ng L(-1) demonstrating that, all together, the measured EDCs pose important health risks for both biota and humans.

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