Researchers identify endocrine-disrupting chemical in bottled water

Researchers identify endocrine-disrupting chemical in bottled water

( —A team of researchers in Germany has identified an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) found in samples taken from commercial bottled water. In their paper published in PLoS ONE, the team describes the methods they used to isolate the EDC found in the water samples.

EDCs (man-made used in many plastics) have been found to interfere with hormonal systems in several types of organisms—particularly in reproductive and development activities. They have come to light as it has been determined that several types of EDCs are present in plastics that are used to store food or water. Bisphenol A is one such notorious chemical that was until recently found in the plastic makeup of . In this new effort, the researchers sought to determine if there were EDCs seeping into water consumers buy in bottles, and if so, which ones they might be.

The researchers started by collecting data gathered by other researchers and medical entities. They looked for specific instances of antiestrogenic and antiandrogenic activity among 18 bottled water products. They found that 13 of the samples displayed antiestrogenic activity while 16 caused antiandrogenic activity. This confirmed their suspicions that the water samples had some amounts of EDC in them. They had a lot to choose from, however, as their study revealed 24,520 different chemicals in the water samples.

To discover which EDC in particular was in the water samples, the researchers used mass spectrometric simulations to winnow down the likely candidates. This led them to di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). Subsequent chemical tests on the confirmed their findings.

There was one glitch in the study, however—to date, the team reports, there is evidence implicating DEHF as only being antiestrogenic, which suggests either that there is another EDC in the water, or that more research needs to be done to discern if DEHF is also antiandrogenic. The authors note also that no one really knows if DEHF is harmful to people, or if it is, how much must be present for it to present a hazard. Thus, more research must be undertaken to find out if DEHF, like Bisphenol A needs to be banned from use in used to process or contain food products.

Explore further

Experts say protocols for identifying endocrine-disrupting chemicals inadequate

More information: Wagner M, Schlüsener MP, Ternes TA, Oehlmann J (2013) Identification of Putative Steroid Receptor Antagonists in Bottled Water: Combining Bioassays and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72472. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072472

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are man-made compounds interfering with hormone signaling and thereby adversely affecting human health. Recent reports provide evidence for the presence of EDCs in commercially available bottled water, including steroid receptor agonists and antagonists. However, since these findings are based on biological data the causative chemicals remain unidentified and, therefore, inaccessible for toxicological evaluation. Thus, the aim of this study is to assess the antiestrogenic and antiandrogenic activity of bottled water and to identify the causative steroid receptor antagonists. We evaluated the antiestrogenic and antiandrogenic activity of 18 bottled water products in reporter gene assays for human estrogen receptor alpha and androgen receptor. Using nontarget high-resolution mass spectrometry (LTQ-Orbitrap Velos), we acquired corresponding analytical data. We combined the biological and chemical information to determine the exact mass of the tentative steroid receptor antagonist. Further MSn experiments elucidated the molecule's structure and enabled its identification. We detected significant antiestrogenicity in 13 of 18 products. 16 samples were antiandrogenic inhibiting the androgen receptor by up to 90%. Nontarget chemical analysis revealed that out of 24520 candidates present in bottled water one was consistently correlated with the antagonistic activity. By combining experimental and in silico MSn data we identified this compound as di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). We confirmed the identity and biological activity of DEHF and additional isomers of dioctyl fumarate and maleate using authentic standards. Since DEHF is antiestrogenic but not antiandrogenic we conclude that additional, yet unidentified EDCs must contribute to the antagonistic effect of bottled water. Applying a novel approach to combine biological and chemical analysis this is the first study to identify so far unknown EDCs in bottled water. Notably, dioctyl fumarates and maleates have been overlooked by science and regulation to date. This illustrates the need to identify novel toxicologically relevant compounds to establish a more holistic picture of the human exposome.

via RSC

Journal information: PLoS ONE

© 2013

Citation: Researchers identify endocrine-disrupting chemical in bottled water (2013, September 10) retrieved 19 September 2019 from
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Sep 10, 2013
We're not exactly sure what DEHF does, or whether it is harmful to people? Or in what doses? But we are going to react hysterically to its mere presence anyway, because it is only by raising alarms that we can raise research funding...

Sep 10, 2013
Also, I REALLY hope they took samples directly from the water source of each of those 18 bottling companies to rule that out as the original source for some of those 24k+ chemicals...

One would think that they'd do this as part of the process, but I'm not so certain "modern" research like this covers as many bases as they might once have done.

Sep 10, 2013
Sooo bottled water makes gays?

LOL...too funny.

Several months ago, I bought a plastic bottle made by Contigo that has the pop-up spout and plastic handle. The bottle is made in China and is BPA free, as it says on the bottle. The bottle itself seems good, but the spout is made of silicone according to what was told to me by someone at the Contigo office. I called them about a strong chemical odor coming from the silicone spout which is worrisome as the water has to pass through that spout. The odor is sickening to me and I can no longer use the bottle inasmuch as I like the style and the convenience.
As the bottle and spout is Made in China, I will not be using it ever again until I can find out the exact type and amounts of chemicals used in the silicone spout. I suspect that there may be something else included in its manufacture that should not be there.

Sep 11, 2013
We're not exactly sure what DEHF does, or whether it is harmful to people? Or in what doses? But we are going to react hysterically to its mere presence anyway, because it is only by raising alarms that we can raise research funding...

And your approach would be:
"We're not exactly sure what DEHF does, or whether it is harmful to people? Or in what doses? So we're going to do nothing and just assum it's safe."

... because that approach has worked so well in the past with
- lead
- arsenic
- mercury
- radioactive materials
- ...

OF COURSE should we look into the effects on humans of stuff in our food that isn't part of our natural diet for the past thousands of years. Any other approach is just dumb.

Sep 11, 2013
Don't forget asbestos. I would like to see the same analysis done on tap water, along with the source water for those bottled products, as DeadCorpse said.

Sep 11, 2013
Lead crystal was used as carafes and drinking glasses for a very long time, I'm not sure how many years. But some years ago, it was discovered that the lead leached out of the glass and into the brandy or whatever was in the bottle.

I would prefer a perfectly sealed glass bottle to store water or other liquids, except that the weight of the glass in relation to its thickness rules out its extensive use, plus the danger of breakage.

Sep 11, 2013
Their self-condemnation will prove their undoing when they die and each one's Soul is forced to remain in the body and can FEEL the agonies of being part of a rotting corpse.

The Soul of an evil person will feel all the pains of a hellish existence as it is placed in the ground in darkness that is blacker than night. It has time for reflection of its evil ways and evil thoughts, words and deeds that it had while it lived.

The evil person's Soul doesn't experience the FIRES of hell immediately. No, it has to wait a very long time until the Sun goes supernova and envelopes and draws the Earth into it.
When this happens, all evil Souls, including demons, will burn for eternity.
I say it again what it I believe to be true in spite of what preachers say.
-Obama_socks, Insane Idiot

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Sep 14, 2013
Mice tests are needed. These esters may break into harmless components in intestine before entering the body.

Sep 14, 2013
Only one of many problems associated with our stupidity in paying $2 for two cents worth of tap water.

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