Hormone steroids are a group of endocrine disruptors, which are excreted by humans and animals. In this paper, we briefly review the current knowledge on the fate of these steroids in the environment. Natural estrogenic steroids estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3) all have a solubility of approximately 13 mg/l, whereas synthetic steroids 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) and mestranol (MeEE2) have a solubility of 4.8 and 0.3 mg/l, respectively. These steroids have a moderate binding on sediments and are reported to degrade rapidly in soil and water. Estrogenic steroids have been detected in effluents of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in different countries at concentrations ranging up to 70 ng/l for E1, 64 ng/l for E2, 18 ng/l for E3 and 42 ng/l for EE2. E2 concentrations in river waters from Japan, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands ranged up to 27 ng/l. In addition, E2 concentrations ranging from 6 to 66 ng/l have also been measured in mantled karst aquifers in northwest Arkansas. This contamination of ground water has been associated with poultry litter and cattle manure waste applied on the land. Although hormone steroids have been detected at a number of sources worldwide, currently, there is limited data on the environmental behaviour and fate of these hormone steroids in different environmental media. Consequently, the exposure and risk associated with these chemicals are not adequately understood.
Environment International – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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