Relevance of endocrine disrupting substances and pharmaceuticals for surface waters – Reassessment of occurrence, development of concepts for monitoring and measures to reduce entry into surface waters

The aim of the project was to evaluate the environmental relevance of potential endocrine disrupters in surface waters by comparing measured concentrations of the respective substances to newly proposed environmental quality standards (EQS). As a key action of the  European Commission’s strategy for endocrine disrupting chemicals, 564 potential endocrine disrupters had been listed. Further 88 substances with potential endo­crine effects were identified in the present project; 71 of these substances showed endocrine effects on aquatic organisms in vivo. Supplemental ecotoxicological data were compiled for these substances in order to propose EQS according to guidance provided by the Water Framework Directive. For 31 out of these 71 substances, endpoints specifically relating to endocrine disruption were more sensitive than other acute or chronic ecotoxicity data, while for 21 sub­stances, other ecotoxicological endpoints were most sensitive. For 19 substances, no EQS proposal could be derived due to the lack of data. For 38 substances, measured concentrations in German surface waters were available. For 24 of these substances, measured concentrations  in surface water exceeded the proposed annual average EQS. Hence, these substances were considered as potenitally relevant for the aquatic environment. It was suggested to integrate the monitoring of relevant endocrine disrupters into ongoing monitoring pro­grammes of the German Federal States. Strategies to reduce concentrations of endocrine disrupters in rivers and streams should include source control and source separation. In addition, advanced treatment techniques at municipal sewage treat­ment plants are currently discussed.