Endocrine-disrupting compounds in the Xiangjiang River of China: Spatio-temporal distribution, source apportionment, and risk assessment.


Center for Environment and Water Resources, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) were seasonally investigated in the surface water of the Xiangjiang River (south China) in order to understand their spatio-temporal distribution, source apportionment, and ecological risks. The occurrence of 21 EDCs were determined with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in the water samples collected along the river over four seasons, and the results were statistically analyzed. The concentrations of progestagens, androgens, estrogens ranged from not detected (ND) to 98.3 ng L-1; while the concentrations of alkylphenols ranged from 0.8 to 3.1 × 103 ng L-1; and that of caffeine ranged from 0.1 to 49.8 ng L-1. The detection frequencies of bisphenol A, 4-tert-octylphenol, 4-n-nonylphenol, estrone, and 17β-estradiol were 95-100% during the four sampling campaigns. The seasonal and spatial variation trend of EDCs in the Xiangjiang River was noticeable. The concentration of EDCs in Yueyang section (downstream) was the highest in winter, while the concentration in Yongzhou (upstream) section was the lowest in spring. The concentration of EDCs in the Xiangjiang River was significantly correlated with the levels of the total organic carbon, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Source analysis indicated that untreated sewage was the major source of EDCs. Furthermore, the potential risks of EDCs in the surface water to aquatic organisms were assessed with the risk quotient method (European Commission, 2003), and the results indicated the highest ecological risk of 17β-estradiol in the Xiangjiang River.


Ecological risk,Endocrine disrupting chemicals,Seasonal variation,Surface water,