Identification of Estrogenic Compounds Emitted from the Combustion of Computer Printed Circuit Boards in Electronic Waste
Rapid changes in technology have brought about a surge in demand for electronic equipment. Many of these products contain brominated flame-retardants (BFRs) as additives to decrease the rate of combustion, raising concerns about their toxicological risk. In our study, emissions from the combustion of computer-printed circuit boards were evaluated in the T47D-KBluc estrogen-responsive cell line at a series of concentrations. There was significant activity from the emission extract when compared to the positive control, 0.1 nM estradiol. After HPLC fractionation, GC/MS identified ten chemicals which included bisphenol A; the brominated derivates mono-, di-, and tribisphenol, triphenyl phosphate, triphenyl phosphine oxide, 4′-bromo-[1,1′-biphenyl]-4-ol, 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybiphenyl, 3,5-dibromo-2-hydroxybiphenyl, and the oxygenated polyaromatic hydrocarbon benzanthrone. Commercially available samples of these ten compounds were tested. The compound 4′-bromo-[1,1′-biphenyl]-4-ol resulted in dose-dependent significant increases for luciferase activity at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 10 µM in the T47D-KBluc assay. The chemical also demonstrated an affinity for binding to the estrogen receptor (ER) with an IC50 of 2 × 10−7 M. To determine the uterotrophic activity, three doses (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg/day) of 4′-bromo-[1,1′-biphenyl]-4-ol were administered to adult ovariectomized Long–Evans rats for 3 days. Treatment of the animals with 200 mg/kg/day showed an increase in uterine weight. Hence one new chemical, released by burning of electrical wastes, was identified which displays estrogenic activity both in vitro and in vivo. However, it was about 1000-fold less potent than ethynyl estradiol.
Environmental Science and Technology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed ID (PMID)