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EPA Method 539: Hormones in Drinking Water Using the QTRAP® 6500 LC-MS/MS System

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Despite government oversight, clean water has become a luxury not afforded some populations. Be it due to physical or economic limits, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 1.6 million people die each year from diseases attributed to unsafe drinking water, 90 percent of which are under age five.

In other areas such as the United States resources are more plentiful, yet traces of hormones seemingly make their way into the supply via industrial pollution, runoff, agriculture, and landfills. Too much exposure, however, can put consumers at risk of cancer and infertility.

For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government agency which protects human health and the environment based on laws passed by Congress, signed the third unregulated monitoring rule (UCMR3) on April 16, 2012. This rule requires monitoring of 30 drinking water contaminants using EPA analytical methods, including EPA Method 539. Within the scope of this regulation, seven hormones are monitored in finished drinking water.

According to the EPA, laboratories using this method have some leniency when it comes to testing but still, they are required to meet minimum reporting levels (MRL). For example, allowances made include changes to LC column, conditions, and standards. Various companies have devised methods according to these standards. However, this one from SCIEX,  not only meets low Method Detection Limits (MDL), it surpasses the UCMR3 reporting limits.

Work in a lab where you test drinking water? You might be interested finding out which pairs of isotopes were monitored to ensure sufficient chromatographic resolution was maintained as described in this technical note, EPA Method 539: Hormones in Drinking Water Using the QTRAP® 6500 LC/MS/MS System and:

  • Get your share of calculations and equations
  • Formulate quality control samples with ongoing results

Want to know more about water testing and the environment?

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