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A Study of Xenoestrogens in the Greater Pittsburgh Area

Renz, Lara M (2011) A Study of Xenoestrogens in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Greater Pittsburgh Area is famous for its three rivers: the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers. These rivers have a history of being polluted by decades of mine runoff and chemicals released by industrial sites. New problems, such as pollution from endocrine disrupting compounds and xenoestrogens, have recently been discovered in this well known aquatic environment and are suspected to be caused by the failing sewer system. Personal care products, pharmaceuticals and plasticizers all have the potential to enter the water supply though both treated and untreated sewage. Many of these compounds are known or suspected endocrine disruptors.Estrogenic potential of fish extracts from flesh/fat tissue captured from Freeport and Ford City was studied via the E-Screen Assay on MCF-7, T47D and BT-20 human breast cancer cell lines. Results showed weak estrogenic responses in both MCF-7 and T47D cell lines, with no significant differences for fish gender, weight, or sample location.Estrogenic potential of extracts from fish brain tissue was tested via Bromodeoxyuridine MCF-7 Analysis and paired with High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry to investigate the presence of specific xenoestrogens in the fish extracts. Fifty eight fish were sampled from rivers in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. All samples were non-detectable for methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl parabens. Bisphenol A (BPA) was detected in 44 of the 58 samples, with a range from non-detectable to 120 pg/gram. The Harmarville sample location had higher results for all analyses when compared to all other sample sites.In summary, this dissertation supported all previous available literature leading to the conclusion that parabens are safe to remain on the market and are not a significant environmental concern. In particular, there does not seem to be any need for concern over paraben levels detected in the Greater Pittsburgh Area river system and water supply. The BPA portion of this research was in agreement with previous literature as to its bioconcentration tendencies; however, new implications regarding the public health significance of the effects from BPA in brain tissue may require some re-evaluation of concerns about BPA transport and fate in the environment around Pittsburgh and elsewhere.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Renz, Lara
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVolz, Conradcdv5@pitt.eduCDV5
Committee MemberPeterson, Jamesjpp16@pitt.eduJPP16
Committee MemberEagon, Patriciapkeagon2@pitt.eduPKEAGON2
Committee MemberSharma, Ravirks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946
Date: 29 June 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 April 2011
Approval Date: 29 June 2011
Submission Date: 3 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bisphenol A; Endocrine Disrupting Compounds; T47D; Xenoestrogens; human breast cancer cells; MCF-7; Parabens; Cell Proliferation Study
Other ID:, etd-04032011-220807
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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