Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 166, Issue 1–4, pp 343–351 | Cite as

Adsorption of 3H-Labeled 17-β Estradiol on Powdered Activated Carbon

  • Y. YoonEmail author
  • P. Westerhoff
  • S. A. Snyder


Three source waters, two model waters (Ultrapure (natural organic matter (NOM)-free)) water and Suwannee River NOM isolate by reverse osmosis (SR-NOM)) and a natural water (Colorado River water (CRW)), were tested. Those waters were selected to represent a relatively hydrophobic NOM (SR-NOM) and a relatively hydrophilic NOM (CRW) based on their specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA = UVA254/DOC) values. The adsorption of an estrogenic compound, 17β-estradiol (E2), on powdered activated carbons (PACs) was investigated. Kinetic and PAC dose-response experiments were performed with PACs at an initial concentration of 0.1 nM (27 ng L−1). Additional experiments were also performed at various initial concentrations ranging from 0.025 nM (6.8 ng L−1) to 5.0 nM (1360 ng L−1) to determine the effects of initial concentration on E2 adsorption. In separate experiments, 17β-estradiol was introduced to PAC as a pure component, in binary mixtures with other salts (NaCl, Na2SO4, and CaCl2), and under varying pH conditions (4.0, 7.5, and 11.0) to determine the effects of pH and background ions on E2 adsorption. Samples were measured by liquid scintillation counting using 3H radio-labeled E2. Without preconcentration, a method detection limit using the liquid scintillation counter was 0.005 nM (1.36 ng L−1), respectively. Increasing contact time and PAC dose improved compound removal. Activated carbon is a viable technology for water treatment plants.


adsorption endocrine disrupting compound powdered activated carbon radio-labeled 17β-estradiol water treatment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, C., Wang, Y., Loftin, K. and Meyer, M.: 2002, ‘Removal of antibiotics from surface and distilled water in conventional water treatment processes’, J. Environmental Engineering 128, 253–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Behnisch, P. A., Fujii, K., Shiozaki, K., Kawakami, I. and Sakai, S.: 2001, ‘Estrogenic and dioxin-like potency in each step of a controlled landfill leachate treatment plant in Japan’, Chemosphere 43, 977–984.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Behymer, T. D., Bellar, J. S., Ho, J. S. and Budde, W. L.: 1993, Methods for the Determination of Organic Compounds in Drinking Water. US Environmental Protection Agency, Supplement II; Revision 1.1, Cincinnati.Google Scholar
  4. Belfroid, A. C., Van der Horst, A., Vethaak, A. D., Schafer, A. J., Rijs, G. B. J., Wegener, J. and Cofino, W. P.: 1999, ‘Analysis and occurrence of estrogenic hormones and their glucuronides in surface water and waste water in The Netherlands’, Science of the Total Environment. 225, 101–108.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Carlile, P., Fielding, M., Harding, L., Hart, J., Hutchison, J. and Kanda, R.: 1996, ‘Effect of water treatment processes on oestrogenic chemicals’, in: UK WIR Report 96/DW/05/01.Google Scholar
  6. Fuerhacker, M., Durauer, A. and Jungbauer, A.: 2001, ‘Adsorption isotherms of 17 beta-estradiol on granular activated carbon (GAC)’, Chemosphere 44, 1573–1579.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Halling-Sorensen, B., Nielsen, S. N., Lanzky, P. F., Ingerslev, F., Lutzhoft, H. C. H. and Jorgensen, S. E.: 1998, ‘Occurrence, fate and effects of pharmaceutical substances in the environment – A review’, Chemosphere 36, 357–394.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Heijman, S. G. J. and Hopman, R.: 1999, ‘Activated carbon filtration in drinking water production: Model prediction and new concepts’, Colloids and Surfaces a-Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 151, 303–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Huang, C. H. and Sedlak, D. L.: 2001, ‘Analysis of estrogenic hormones in municipal wastewater effluent and surface water using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry’, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 20, 133–139.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Knappe, D. R. U., Matsui, Y., Snoeyink, V. L., Roche, P., Prados, M. J. and Bourbigot, M. M.: 1998, ‘Predicting the capacity of powdered activated carbon for trace organic compounds in natural waters’, Environment Science & Technology 32, 1694–1698.Google Scholar
  11. Korner, W., Hanf, V., Schuller, W., Kempter, C., Metzger, J. and Hagenmaier, H.: 1999, ‘Development of a sensitive E-screen assay for quantitative analysis of estrogenic activity in municipal sewage plant effluents’, Science of the Total Environment 225, 33–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kuch, H. M. and Ballschmiter, K.: 2001, ‘Determination of endocrine-disrupting phenolic compounds and estrogens in surface and drinking water by HRGC-(NCI)-MS in the picogram per liter range’, Environmental Science & Technology 35, 3201–3206.Google Scholar
  13. Layton, A. C., Gregory, B. W., Seward, J. R., Schultz, T. W. and Sayler, G. S.: 2000, ‘Mineralization of steroidal hormones by biosolids in wastewater treatment systems in Tennessee USA’, Environmental Science & Technology 34, 3925–3931.Google Scholar
  14. Nasu, M., Goto, M., Kato, H., Oshima, Y. and Tanaka, H.: 2001, ‘Study on endocrine disrupting chemicals in wastewater treatment plants’, Water Science and Technology 43, 101– 108.Google Scholar
  15. Nevskaia, D. M., Sepulveda-Escribano, A. and Guerrero-Ruiz, A.: 2001, ‘Surface properties of activated carbons in relation to their ability to adsorb nonylphenol aqueous contaminant’, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 3, 463–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Paune, F., Caixach, J., Espadaler, I., Om, J. and Rivera, J.: 1998, ‘Assessment on the removal of organic chemicals from raw and drinking water at a Llobregat river water works plant using GAC’, Water Research 32, 3313–3324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Siddiqui, M., Zhai, W., Amy, G. and Mysore, C.: 1996, ‘Bromate ion removal by activated carbon’, J. American Water Works Association 30, 1651–1660.Google Scholar
  18. Snyder, S. A., Villeneuve, D. L., Snyder, E. M. and Giesy, J. P.: 2001, ‘Identification and quantification of estrogen receptor agonists in wastewater effluents’, Environmental Science & Technology 35, 3620–3625.Google Scholar
  19. Snyder, S. A., Keith, T. L., Verbrugge, D. A., Snyder, E. M., Gross, T. S., Kannan, K. and Giesy, J. P.: 1999, ‘Analytical methods for detection of selected estrogenic compounds in aqueous mixtures’, Environmental Science & Technology 33, 2814–2820.Google Scholar
  20. Tanghe, T. and Verstraete, W.: 2001, ‘Adsorption of nonylphenol onto granular activated carbon’, Water Air and Soil Pollution. 131, 61–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ternes, T. A., Stumpf, M., Mueller, J., Haberer, K., Wilken, R. D. and Servos, M.: 1999, ‘Behavior and occurrence of estrogens in municipal sewage treatment plants – I. Investigations in Germany, Canada and Brazil’, Science of the Total Environment 225, 81–90.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Vanderford, B. J., Pearson, R. A., Rexing, D. J. and Snyder, S. A.: 2003, ‘Analysis of endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in water using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry’, Analytical Chemistry 75, 6265–6274.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Witters, H. E., Vangenechten, C. and Berckmans, P.: 2001, ‘Detection of estrogenic activity in Flemish surface waters using an in vitro recombinant assay with yeast cells’, Water Science and Technology. 43, 117–123.Google Scholar
  24. Yoon, Y., Westerhoff, P., Snyder, S. A. and Esparza, M.: 2003, ‘HPLC-fluorescence detection and adsorption of bisphenol A, 17b-estradiol, and 17a-ethynyl estradiol on powdered activated carbon’, Water Research 37, 3530–3537.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeU.S.A.
  3. 3.Southern Nevada Water AuthorityLas VegasU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations