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National Screening Survey of EDCs, including some Pharmaceuticals in Municipal Wastewater Treatment Effluents

Project Purpose:
The purpose of this study was to assess whether certain types of domestic wastewater treatment plants or operations are more effective in removing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and certain pharmaceuticals.

Project Description(s):
In 2002 and 2003 the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development asked Regional EPA inspectors, State EPA inspectors and Municipal plant operators to collect four gallons of effluent, either as a grab or composite sample, and ship them to Cincinnati for male and female Fathead Minnow exposures and chemical analyses. Five male and five female fathead minnows were exposed to each effluent for 24-hrs then their livers were removed and the RNA extracted and analyzed via Real-time PCR for changes in vitellogenin gene expression (Vg). Each effluent assessed included two laboratory control waters (Moderately Hard Reconstituted Water with and without DMSO) and 1 positive control, 5ng/L of the estrogen, Ethynylestradiol (EE2). If males showed Vg levels above controls then this would indicate the detection of an estrogen in the effluent, if females showed decreased Vg from controls this would indicate detection of an androgen or anti estrogen in the effluent. Fifty two municipal wastewater treatment plant effluents from nine U.S. EPA Regions and representing 23 States including Alaska and Hawaii were tested. Six samples resulted in 100% mortality in the effluent sample being tested. Three effluents were resampled and tested. Of the 46 that were not acutely toxic, 10 (21.7%) showed elevated Vg levels in male fathead minnows and two (4.3%) showed reduced Vg levels in female fathead minnows. Two effluents that showed elevated levels in males were repeated and showed similar results.

Project Outcomes:
EPA Report: EPA/600/R-04/171 APM 201 - National Screening Survey of EDCs, including some Pharmaceuticals in Municipal Wastewater Treatment Effluents. Jim Lazorchak

Jim Lazorchak at lazorchak.jim@epa.gov

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