Stir bar sorptive extraction and trace analysis of selected endocrine disruptors in water, biosolids and sludge samples by thermal desorption with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
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Stir bar sorptive extraction (SBSE) in combination with thermal desorption coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was successfully applied to analyze a range of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in wastewater, solids and sludge. The targeted EDCs include sex steroid hormones, phthalates, alkylphenols and tamoxifen. Recovery for the EDCs using this analytical technique ranged from 44% to 128%. Limit of detection (LOD) of the compounds was 2.0 ng/L for water samples and 0.02 ng/g for solid samples, whereas the limit of quantitation (LOQ) was 5.0 ng/L for water samples and 0.06 ng/g for solid samples. When this analytical technique was applied to measure EDC concentration in a biological nutrient removal (BNR) wastewater treatment plant located in South East Queensland, Australia, the results showed that there were high amounts of phthalates, alkylphenols and female hormones present in the raw influent wastewater and solids. These concentrations were dramatically reduced after passing through the various treatment zones of the bioreactor (anaerobic, aerobic and anoxic).