Quantify endocrine-disrupting chemicals at trace levels

Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) can help both environmental scientists and regulators identify and quantify endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) at trace levels in water, soil, foods and other products.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are any chemical that interferes with the body's endocrine system, resulting in developmental, reproductive, neurological or immune deficiencies in humans and animals.1, 2 Many everyday household products contain these endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These include bisphenol A (which leaches from metal cans and plastic food containers), plasticizers (which leach from consumable products such as toys) and assorted flame retardants and pharmaceutical chemical compounds used in clothing and cosmetics.

Sources of EDCs in water include discharge of industrial waste to rivers, agricultural water runoff, air deposition, surface runoff and soil leachate, which often contaminate surface and groundwaters. Since conventional wastewater treatment methods may not adequately remove EDCs from wastewater,3 there is a real possibility that EDCs are present in water bodies.4-5

Numerous studies have reported the adverse effects of EDCs on aquatic ecosystems2 at various concentrations. There are also reports of reproductive disorders associated with EDCs,6-7 causing concern about EDC exposure through water consumption.

LC-MS/MS: Your gateway to identify and quantify EDCs in water

Considering the potential impact of EDCs, these chemicals have become a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC) for both regulatory agencies and the public. An LC-MS/MS approach can help you identify and quantify EDCs in water through high:

  • Sensitivity: Take advantage of simplified sample preparation to attain low parts-per-trillion detection limits across multiple compound classes with a linear range of 3 to 4 orders of magnitude for all compounds.
  • Selectivity: Use powerful liquid chromatography to tackle the complexity of EDCs as you separate your analyte of interest from the matrix for accurate quantification.
  • Specificity: Utilize second-order fragmentation (MS/MS/MS) to remove chromatographic interferences caused by isomers and background ions to provide highly specific measurements.


  1. Brausch, J.M. and Rand, G.M. A review of personal care products in the aquatic environment: environmental concentrations and toxicity. Chemosphere. 2011, 82(11), 1518–1532. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.11.018
  2. Santos, L.H.; Araújo, A.N.; Fachini, A.; Pena, A.; Delerue-Matos, C.; Montenegro, M.C. Ecotoxicological aspects related to the presence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. J Hazard Mater. 2010, 175(1-3), 45–95. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.10.100
  3. Stackelberg, P.E.; Furlong, E.T.; Meyer, M.T.; Zaugg, S.D.; Henderson, A.K.; Reissman, D.B. Persistence of pharmaceutical compounds and other organic wastewater contaminants in a conventional drinking-water-treatment plant. Sci Total Environ. 2004, 329(1-3), 99–113. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.03.015 
  4. Snyder, S.A.; Villeneuve, D.L.; Snyder, E.M.; Giesy, J.P. Identification and Quantification of Estrogen Receptor Agonists in Wastewater Effluents. Environmental Science & Technology 2001, 35 (18), 3620–3625. doi: 10.1021/es001254n 
  5. Barnes, K.K.; Kolpin, D.W.; Furlong, E.T.; Zaugg, S.D.; Meyer, M.T.; Barber, L.B. A national reconnaissance of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants in the United States--I) groundwater. Sci Total Environ. 2008, 402(2-3), 192–200. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.04.028 
  6. Kortenkamp, A. Introduction: endocrine disruptors-exposure assessment, novel endpoints, and low-dose and mixture effects. Environ Health Perspect. 2007, 115 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.10517 
  7. Gonsioroski, A.; Mourikes, V.E.; Flaws, J.A. Endocrine disruptors in water and their effects on the reproductive system. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Mar 12, 21(6), 1929. doi: 10.3390/ijms21061929

Sensitive detection of 4 endocrine-disrupting chemials at low parts-per-trillion levels 

LC-MS/MS: The comprehensive approach for water and wastewater analysis

Organotin compounds

Identify multiple organotin compounds at trace levels.

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Accurately analyze the diverse chemical structures of PFAS, including GenX, using LC-MS/MS technology.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)

Get the selectivity, specificity and sensitivity you need to quantify PPCP compounds in the low parts-per-trillion range.

X500R QTOF System

This easy-to-use accurate mass spectrometer system analyzes data faster using the power of SWATH® Acquisition.

SCIEX OS Software

This all-in-one software lets you acquire, process and analyze data, and even generate reports.

QTRAP® systems

Use the MRM sensitivity of a triple quadrupole system to get even better identification and quantification.

All-In-One HR-MS/MS Library Version 2.0 with NIST

Access more 17,000 compounds available at the click of a button.


Learning Center  
Detection of estrogens in aqueous and solid environmental matrices by direct injection LC-MS/MS Download
Analysis of endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in river water Download