Spatial Distribution of Nonylphenol and its Partitioning towards Human Subjects as it Relates to Environmental Levels
Authors:Steven Mee, Kyle Van de Bittner
Mentor:Rebecca Lyons, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Redlands
Nonylphenol (NP) is a biodegradation product of nonylphenol polyethoxylates (NPE), a pervasive compound notably used in pesticides as a surfactant. This organic compound is classified as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) due its bio-accumulation, bio-concentration, and susceptibility to long range transport within the environment. NP has shown endocrine disruption properties, a result of NP’s ability to closely mimic the strongest female sex hormone, 17-β estradiol. In high concentrations, NP can lead to hermaphrodism and feminization of male aquatic organisms. Previous research has shown NP concentrations in human urine close to 2ug/L per day, although the degree to which NP partitions from the environment to humans has not yet been determined. This study proposes a comparison between environmental levels of NP in an agricultural region of Southern California and a relatively pristine region in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The environmental levels of NP will then be cross-correlated with the concentration of NP found in human urine. Average environmental concentrations of nonylphenol have been determined in the several lakes in the Mammoth Lakes area of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, and at Lake Perris in the Inland Empire. They are 8.1 ug/L and 117.8 ug/L respectively. The clinical trials are currently underway.