The quality of surface waters is threatened by pollution with low concentrations of bioactive chemicals, among which those interfering with steroid hormone systems. Induced by reports of anti-progestogenic activity in surface waters, a two-year four-weekly survey of (anti-)progestogenic activity was performed at three surface water locations in the Netherlands that serve as abstraction points for the production of drinking water. As certain endogenous and synthetic progestogenic compounds are also potent (anti-)androgens, these activities were also investigated. Anti-progestogenic and anti-androgenic activities were detected in the majority of the monitoring samples, sometimes in concentrations exceeding effect-based trigger values, indicating the need for further research. To characterize the compounds responsible for the activities, a high resolution Effect-Directed Analysis (hr-EDA) panel was combined with PR and AR CALUX bioassays, performed in agonistic and antago-nistic modes. The influent and effluent of a domestic wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) were included as effluent is a possible emission source of active compounds. As drivers for androgenic and progestogenic activities several native and synthetic steroid hormones were identified in the WWTP samples, namely androstenedione, testosterone, DHT, levonorgestrel and cyproterone acetate. The pesticides metolachlor and cyazofamid were identified as contributors to both the anti-progestogenic and anti-androgenic activities in surface water. In addition, epiconazole contributed to the anti-progestogenic activities in the rivers Rhine and Enclosed Meuse. This study showed the strength of hr-EDA for the identification of bioactive compounds in environmental samples and shed light on the drivers of (anti-)progestogenic and (anti-)androgenic activities in the aquatic environment.
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