Estrogenic activity of US drinking waters: A relative exposure comparison

Benjamin D. Stanford, Shane A. Snyder, Rebecca A. Trenholm, Janie C. Holady, Brett J. Vanderford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates a relative exposure to estrogenic activity and other trace contaminants in drinking water compared with food, beverage, and air exposure. Drinking water for nearly 28 million people in 17 US cities plus 40 food and beverage items was screened for 51 trace contaminants, including suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, phytoestrogens, and total in vitro estrogenic activity. Only three drinking water samples exhibited measurable estrogenic activity (0.19-0.77 ng/L as estradiol equivalents), whereas 34 of the 40 food and beverage items had measurable estrogenic activity (median estradiol equivalents, 0.55-4,200 ng/L). On an adult, per-serving basis, food and beverage intake of estrogenic activity was 4-21,000 times greater than in municipal drinking water. Of the literature studies available, air exposure for six suspected EDCs analyzed in this study resulted in at least 30-36,000 times the exposure from drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalJournal / American Water Works Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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