Characterisation of Missouri surface waters near point sources of pollution reveals potential novel atmospheric route of exposure for bisphenol A and wastewater hormonal activity pattern

Surface water contamination by chemical pollutants increasingly threatens water quality around the world. Among the many contaminants found in surface water, there is growing concern regarding endocrine disrupting chemicals, based on their ability to interfere with some aspect of hormone action in exposed organisms, including humans. This study assessed water quality at several sites across Missouri (near wastewater treatment plants and airborne release sites of bisphenol A) based on hormone receptor activation potencies and chemical concentrations present in the surface water. The authors hypothesised that bisphenol A and ethinylestradiol would be greater in water near permitted airborne release sites and wastewater treatment plant inputs, respectively, and that these two compounds would be responsible for the majority of activities in receptor-based assays conducted with water collected near these sites. Concentrations of bisphenol A and ethinylestradiol were compared to observed receptor activities using authentic standards to assess contribution to total activities, and quantitation of a comprehensive set of wastewater compounds was performed to better characterise each site. Bisphenol A concentrations were found to be elevated in surface water near permitted airborne release sites, raising questions that airborne releases of BPA may influence nearby surface water contamination and may represent a previously underestimated source to the environment and potential for human exposure. Oestrogen and androgen receptor activities of surface water samples were predictive of wastewater input, although the lower sensitivity of the ethinylestradiol ELISA relative to the very high sensitivity of the bioassay approaches did not allow a direct comparison. Wastewater-influenced sites also had elevated anti-oestrogenic and anti-androgenic equivalence, while sites without wastewater discharges exhibited no antagonist activities.

Authors: Kassotis CD, Alvarez DA, Taylor JA, Vom Saal FS, Nagel SC, Tillitt DE. ;Full Source: Science of the Total Environment. 2015 Aug 15;524-525:384-93. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.013. Epub 2015 Apr 25. ;