Assessment of endocrine disruptors – DDTs and DEHP (plasticizer) in source water: a case study from Selangor, Malaysia

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The presence of endocrine disruptors in source water is of great concern because of their suspected adverse effects on humans, even when present at very low levels. As the main source of potable water supply, rivers in Malaysia are highly susceptible to contamination by various endocrine disruptors originating from anthropogenic activities. In this study, the contamination levels of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl) ethane (DDT) and its metabolites and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in rivers of Selangor were examined using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Samples were collected from sites representing source water for 18 drinking water treatment plants in Selangor between July 2008 and July 2009. DDT and its metabolites were detected in only 14% of the 192 samples analysed at levels ranging from 0.6 to 14.6 ng/L. Meanwhile DEHP was detected in 96.8% of the samples at levels ranging from below quantitation level (18 ng/L) to 970 ng/L. The detected levels of DDTs and DEHP were lower than the WHO and Malaysian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Data obtained from this study should also serve as a reference point for future surveillance on these endocrine disruptors.

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