Estrogenic hormones in São Paulo Waters (Brazil) and their relationship with environmental variables and Sinapis alba phytotoxicity

Lucia Helena Gomes Coelho*, Tatiane Araújo de Jesus, Marcio Yukihiro Kohatsu, Geovana Tognella Poccia, Vitor Chicarolli, Karin Helwig, Colin Hunter, Joanne Roberts, Paul Teedon, Ole Pahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
249 Downloads (Pure)


The present study evaluated the relationship between estrogenic hormone concentrations (17α-ethinylestradiol and 17β-estradiol) in surface waters in the Metropolitan Area of São Paulo (Brazil) and environmental variables. Four sampling stations were monitored ranging from a protected area to streams discharging human effluent in and around Billings Reservoir. Four sampling campaigns were carried out in each seasonal period: dry and wet. Samples for hormone analysis (in ng L−1) were concentrated (1000×) using solid-phase extraction C18 cartridges and analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole mass spectrometry detection, with 100 ng L−1 limit of quantification. Water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and total dissolved solids were determined in situ; total phosphorus and Sinapis alba bioassays were performed subsequently. Reservoir active capacity (AC) and precipitation were also obtained. Estrogenic hormone concentrations were always below limit of quantification at pristine site; at the other sampling stations, 17β-estradiol concentrations varied from below limit of quantification to 1720 ng L−1 and 17α-ethinylestradiol from below limit of quantification to 1200 ng L−1, with the highest concentrations found in the streams discharging into the reservoir. These streams showed higher Pearson’s correlation between 17α-ethinylestradiol, total phosphorus, and electrical conductivity when compared with reservoir stations. Germination index and EC presented negative correlation (Pearson’s r = − 0.61), denoting a phytotoxicity increase with EC increment. AC influenced the dilution of pollutants and showed negative correlations with total phosphorus (Pearson’s r = −0.56). These results highlight the relevance of including streams in water-monitoring programs, since they are important pollutants loads into watersheds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


  • 17α-Ethinylestradiol
  • water pollution
  • 17β-estradiol
  • endocrine disruptors
  • streams monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Pollution
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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