Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Freshwater

Monitoring and Regulating Water Quality

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are contaminants of emerging environmental and health concern that have been detected in freshwater, wastewater and drinking water. They interfere with the endocrine system in humans and wildlife, and produce adverse effects such as developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects. Their presence in water raises concerns for the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity. Addressing the challenges of EDCs in water is particularly complex due to their ability to trigger adverse effects at very low concentrations, their potency in mixtures with other chemicals, and the vast range of sources and entryways of this group of chemicals into the environment. This report presents new water quality monitoring methods, such as bioassays and non-targeted analysis, that are well equipped to capture the impacts of EDCs in water. These new methods supplement the traditional substance-by-substance chemical analysis of water quality. The report also outlines policy instruments to manage the chemicals’ lifecycle from source to end-of-pipe. It proposes tools and regulations that respond to the negative effects of endocrine disruption, even if the culprit chemical is still unknown. The analysis draws on case studies from OECD countries to provide practical examples and concrete policy actions.

Available from October 12, 2023

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Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive Summary
The challenge of endocrine disruptors in freshwater
Water quality monitoring for endocrine disrupting chemicals: from traditional chemical analysis to effect-based monitoring
Policy options to reduce and manage endocrine disruption in freshwater
Action plan on monitoring and assessment of EDCs in freshwater
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