The Worm Has Turned: Developing Strategies For Assessing The Risks Of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds

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Estrogen-like endocrine disrupting compounds (EEDCs) are found in a variety of products to which humans are exposed, such as plastics and personal hygiene products. These compounds are generally not removed by wastewater treatment systems, and can be found in streams, rivers, and land to which sewage sludge (biosolids) has been applied. Thus, EEDCs may pose a risk to human and ecosystem health. This dissertation focuses on exposure analysis of EEDCs to soil organisms, with a further discussion of the communication of the risk of EEDCs. The dissertation details the development of a novel analytical method employing principles of solid-phase microextraction that can be used to quantify the potential exposure of soil organisms to four EEDCs that have been detected in land amended with biosolids. Conclusions are drawn regarding the ability of the method to quantify the bioavailability of the compounds under various circumstances that mimic field conditions, and the ability of the method to predict tissue concentrations of the compounds in the earthworm, Eisenia fetida. The dissertation then shifts its focus to the issues surrounding the communication of the risks of EEDCs, using bisphenol A as the target compound for a case study in risk communication. Lessons from this case study are discussed. The ubiquitous nature of EEDCs in personal products and in the environment, as well as the unique dose-response relationship of EEDCs, suggests that risk assessments for numerous EEDCs will be required in the near future. The research described in this dissertation, the development of a method that can be used to analyze exposure to the EEDCs of interest. In addition, further understanding the communication of these risks will aid the overall risk management process.

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Endocrine disruptors; Bioavailability; Risk Assessment


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Lemley, Ann Theresa

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McBride, Murray Brian
Stedinger, Jery Russell

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Environmental Toxicology

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Ph. D., Environmental Toxicology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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