Main content area

Assessment of endocrine disruptor effects of levonorgestrel and its photoproducts: Environmental implications of released fractions after their photocatalytic removal

Narváez, Jhon Fredy, Grant, Hannah, Gil, Vanessa Correa, Porras, Jazmín, Bueno Sanchez, Julio Cesar, Ocampo Duque, Luz Fanny, Sossa, Ramiro Ríos, Quintana-Castillo, Juan Carlos
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.371 pp. 273-279
aquatic organisms, cell lines, effluents, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, excretion, human chorionic gonadotropin, humans, photocatalysis, pregnancy, reproductive toxicology, risk assessment, screening, surface water, toxicity testing, ultraviolet radiation, viability, wastewater treatment
The presence of levonorgestrel (LNG) in water bodies via direct discharge and human excretion has been reported worldwide, but its effects on the reproduction of aquatic species and humans are still unknown. Owing to its recalcitrant properties, LNG is not completely removed during wastewater treatment plants, and many species may be exposed to low traces of this compound from discharged effluents. Thus, in this study, a photocatalytic process for removing LNG along with screening of endocrine disruptor effects for risk assessment was applied. Although the removal rate of LNG by ultraviolet C (UV-C) radiation was >90%, reproductive toxicity testing using the BeWo cell line exposed to LNG and its degraded fraction showed the reduced production of basal human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (β-hCG) by more than 73%, from 8.90 mIU mL−1 to <2.39 mIU mL−1, with both LNG and the degraded fraction. β-hCG hormone has been implicated in the viability of trophoblastic cells during the first trimester of pregnancy; therefore, degraded fractions and waterborne LNG may affect reproduction in some aquatic species and humans with low level of exposure.