John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Assessment of hormonal activities and genotoxicity of industrial effluents using in vitro bioassays combined with chemical analysis

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Wastewaters from various industries are a main source of the contaminants in aquatic environments. The authors evaluated the hormonal activities (estrogenic/anti‐estrogenic activities, androgenic/anti‐androgenic activities) and genotoxicity of various effluents from textile and dyeing plants, electronic and electroplate factories, pulp and paper mills, fine chemical factories, and municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Pearl River Delta region by using in vitro bioassays (yeast estrogen screen [YES]; yeast androgen screen [YAS]; and genotoxicity assay [umu/SOS]) combined with chemical analysis. The results demonstrated the presence of estrogenic, anti‐estrogenic, and anti‐androgenic activity in most industrial effluents, whereas no androgenic activities were detected in all of the effluents. The measured estrogenic activities expressed as estradiol equivalent concentrations (EEQs) ranged from below detection (3 of 26 samples) to 40.7 ng/L, with a mean of 7.33 ng/L in all effluents. A good linear relationship was found between the EEQs measured by YES bioassay and the EEQs calculated from chemical concentrations. These detected estrogenic compounds, such as 4‐nonylphenol and estrone, were responsible for the estrogenic activities in the effluents. The genotoxic effects expressed as benzo[a]pyrene equivalent concentrations (BaP EQs) varied between below detection and 88.2 µg/L, with a mean of 8.76 µg/L in all effluents. The target polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were minor contributors to the genotoxicity in the effluents, and some nontarget compounds in the effluents were responsible for the measured genotoxicity. In terms of estrogenic activities and genotoxicity, discharge of these effluents could pose high risks to aquatic organisms in the receiving environments. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2012 SETAC

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