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Estimated human excretion rates of natural estrogens calculated from their concentrations in raw municipal wastewater and its application


Natural estrogens are important endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), which may pose adverse effects on our environment. To avoid time-consuming sample preparation and chemical analysis, estimation of their concentrations in municipal wastewater based on their human urine/feces excretion rates has been generally adopted. However, the data of excretion rates available are very limited and show significant difference among countries. In the context of increasing reporting on the concentrations of natural estrogens in municipal wastewater around the world, this study presented a simple method to estimate their human excretion rates based on the concentrations of natural estrogens in raw sewage. The estimated human excretion rates of natural estrogens among ten countries were obtained, which totally covered over 33 million population. Among these, Brazilians had the largest excretion rates with estrone (E1) and 17β-estradiol (E2) as 236.9 and 60 μg/day/P, respectively, while Iran had the lowest value of 2 μg/day/P for E1 and 0.5 μg/day/P for E2. The average estimated human excretion rates of E1, E2, and estriol (E3) are 17.3, 6.4, and 39.7 μg/day/P, respectively. When the estimated human excretion rates obtained were applied for prediction, the predicted results showed better accuracies than those based on human urinary/feces excretion rates. The method in this study is simple, cost-effective and time-saving, which may be widely applied.

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This work was financially supported by The Key Program of National Natural Science of China (No.41330639), the Program for National Science Foundation of China (No. 21107025) as well as the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2014ZM0073).

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Correspondence to Ze-hua Liu.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Liu, Z., Lu, G., Yin, H. et al. Estimated human excretion rates of natural estrogens calculated from their concentrations in raw municipal wastewater and its application. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 9554–9562 (2015).

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  • Natural estrogens
  • Human excretion rates
  • Estimation
  • Municipal wastewater
  • Accuracy
  • Application