For Life Sciences news & Mason events visit:


Development of a Method to Analyze Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in Surface Waters of the Potomac River Watershed.

Jeremy Weller & Andrea Lorico, June Liu, and Thomas B. Huff


Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are a class of compounds that alter the endocrine system, which produces many of the hormones crucial to almost every bodily function (Some notable examples of EDCs are natural and synthetic estrogens, phytosteroids, bisphenol A, pesticides such as atrazine, and phthalates).  EDCs have been linked to cancer, related to the destabilization of metabolic functions, and appear to damage reproductive systems. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) originate from medicinal drugs taken by humans or administered to livestock and cosmetic products which leach into water sources. (Some examples are antibiotics such as azithromycin and sarafloxacin, and pain reliever like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and ketoprofen). Some of these PPCPs have been shown to lead  to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in water.

This project’s aim was to develop various methods utilizing HPLC-MS/MS  and other technologies with the goal of accurately measuring the concentration of a wide range of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in water samples collected from the Potomac River and its tributaries. In this project five different solid phase extraction methods were developed to capture contaminants with three different types of cartridges, two of which were treated under both acidic and basic conditions.

Two methods were developed for two different liquid chromatographs to separate a mixture of PPCPs and EDCs, which were then employed on a basic LC-MS for all negative ion detection, and on a more advanced LC-IT-TOF in conjunction with an “ultra” column for positive ion detection. The efficiencies of the solid phase extraction methods were then evaluated through the HPLC methods. Samples taken over the last two years were extracted and evaluated through the developed methods. Polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) were placed in the field as passive samplers of the various tributaries. These POCIS were then extracted and evaluated through the previously discussed HPLC method.

<< back