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In Vitro Screening of Environment Samples for Estrogenic Activity: Treated sewage effluent and Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC)

Project Purpose:
The overall goal of this research involves the use of in vitro methods to screen and evaluate environmental samples for EDC activities in order to 1. Identify samples with estrogenic activity 2) Examine the potency of the estrogenic activity in the samples and 3. Potentially use the in vitro assays as indicators to aid in the identification of specific chemicals in effluent samples which are responsible for the EDC activity.

Project Description(s):
In this project, we have developed in vitro methods which can be used to identify EDC activity in environmental effluent samples, including androgenic and estrogenic activity. This research area focuses on the identification of environmental samples with potential estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity. Cell based assays were used to identify estrogenic activity from tertiary-treated sewage effluent samples. This work was completed in collaboration with Dr. Sorenson at the Univ. of MN. We have also been asked to participate in a study organized by the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) which will be evaluating and adapting in vitro assays as a screening tool for estrogenicity in sewage effluents. We will be studying the effects of mixtures of the estrogens in these effluents to determine if they behave in a predictable, dose-additive or in a synergistic fashion.

Project Outcomes:
Sewage effluent samples collected from this and other sites have been experimentally associated with estrogenic effects in fish living in affected ecosystems. Detection of endocrine activity in these types of samples is increasing, but much work is needed to identify the fate and/or effects of parent materials or metabolites which may enter aquatic environments via point (effluent) or non-point (agricultural run-off) sources. As a result of the recognition of the occurrence of EDC activity in these types of samples there has been an increased interest in conducting ecological risk assessments on the human activities that pollute aquatic ecosystems with EDCs. As this work progresses we are establishing a preliminary strategy and experimental design for assessing estrogenicity in environmental water samples.

Contact
L. Earl Gray, Jr. at gray.earl@epa.gov

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