Scientists in Germany published research findings that 24,520 suspect chemicals were found in 18 bottled waters from six countries they tested. Of most concern to them was the significant amount of endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs), in particular di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF) which has consistent results across all waters tested.
Endocrine disruptor chemicals affect the human hormone system with results of birth defects, cancerous tumors, and cardiovascular, metabolic and other developmental disorders. DEHF was pinpointed as the harmful EDC using spectrometric simulation with bioassay work and high-resolution mass spectrometry, but since the DEHF concentration was too low and it is an anti-estrogenic compound, another unidentified EDC may be in samples that showed anti-androgenic activity.
The study was done by Martin Wagner and Jorg Oehlmann of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, and Michael Schlusener and Thomas Ternes of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology. It was published in the PlusOne Journal article Conclusion from Identification of Putative Steroid Receptor Antagonists in Bottled Water: Combining Bioassays and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry.
Their hypothesis is that either they missed an active compound(s) or more likely dialkyl maleates and fumarates might represent a new group of steroid receptor antagonists. Maleates are structurally similar to phthalates, known antiandrogens. Currently scientists and the regulators disregard these chemicals. This study suggests further investigation into identifying EDCs in beverages, foods and other consumer products and resulting human exposure effects. Petition the U.S. EPA and FDA and any other government agency to see that it gets done.
Previously, a group found di(2-ethylhexyl) maleate (DEHM) in cardboard packaged rice, couscous and noodles. The maleate was found to be an impurity of di(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate (DEHSS) used in packaging coating. DEHSS is also an anionic surfactant in industrial applications as a wetting agent in food and beverages in the U.S. and as a dispersant component used in the Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
The antagonist activity was “very potent” in the equivalent of 3.75 ml bottled water. Estrogen and androgen receptors were inhibited between 60 to 90 percent. The water contained estrogenic, antiestrogenic, as well as androgenic, progestagenic, and glucocorticoid-like chemicals.
Consumers are advised to purchase at least inexpensive water filters to remove chlorine and fluoride from tap water. Contact the local water supplier for a report of chemicals found. Instead of spending money on bottled water, support organizations protecting tap water.