Endocrine Disrupters and Drinking Water

What are Endocrine disrupters?

The phrase Endocrine Disrupting Compounds or EDCs refers to a diverse group of chemicals that have the potential to alter the normal functioning of the hormonal system across a wide range in humans and animals.

The Endocrine system is the way that the human body regulates the production and release of hormones. Hormones are the body’s natural way of regulating growth, controlling metabolism and sexual development among others.

Where are Endocrine Disrupters found?

A review during 2020 of research studies and water company analytical data looking at the three most common Endocrine Disrupting compounds of Bisphenol-A (BPA), Nonylphenol (NP) and 17-Beta-estradiol (E2) found that during normal and high river flow rates the concentrations detected within the river systems were all below the proposed European standards of 2.5μg/L for BPA, 0.3μg/L for NP and 0.001μg/L for E2.

During periods of low river flow, half the river catchments in England and Wales were identified as being at medium risk of breaching the proposed standards. Water companies have been informed of this research and are incorporating it into their risk assessments.

Research into the effectiveness of existing treatment systems employed by water companies has shown that the current systems employed to reduce the risk of pesticides reaching consumers are also effective at reducing concentrations of EDCs. The treatment assessed demonstrated removal of EDCs, where present, to below the proposed standards.


It is correct that EDCs are of concern in the protection of wildlife and the environment in general, however, there is no evidence that EDCs pose a risk to human health through drinking water.

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