Determination of atrazine and degradation products in luxembourgish drinking water: Origin and fate of potential endocrine-disrupting pesticides

T. Bohn*, E. Cocco, L. Gourdol, C. Guignard, L. Hoffmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Several pesticides have been hypothesized to act as endocrine-disrupting compounds, exhibiting hormonal activity and perturbing normal physiological functions. Among these, especially s-triazine herbicides have received increased attention. Despite being banned in many countries, including the European Union, atrazine is still the world's most widely used herbicide. Despite its discontinued use, considerable concentrations of atrazine and its degradation products, mainly desethylatrazine (DEA) and deisopropylatrazine (DIA), are still found in the environment, including drinking water sources. The aim of this investigation was to study concentrations of especially s-triazine herbicides and major degradation products in drinking water, including spring water, tap water and bottled water in Luxembourg. Spring water (2007/2008/2009, n=69/69/69), tap water (2008/2009, n=19/26), and bottled water (2007/2008/2009, n=5/13/7) were sampled at locations in Luxembourg and investigated for pesticides by LC-ESI-MS/MS. Atrazine was the predominant triazine, detectable in many spring water locations, tap and bottled water, ranging (mean) from 0-57 (9), 0-44 (4), and 0-4 (1) ng l-1, respectively. DEA and DIA in spring water ranged (mean) from 0-120 (19) and 0-27 (3) ng l-1, with higher concentrations from agricultural areas and low molar ratios of DEA:atrazine <0.5 and high ratios of atrazine:nitrate suggesting point-source contamination. Levels (mean) of DEA and DIA in tap water were 0-62 (14) and 0-6 (<1) ng l-1 and in bottled water 0-11 (2) and 0-7 (2) ng l-1. Simazine and other triazines were detected in traces (<5ng l-1). Thus, the conducted monitoring suggested the presence of low concentrations of s-triazines in raw and finished water, presumably partly due to non-agricultural contamination, with concentrations being below thresholds advocated by the European Union Directive 98/83/EC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1054
Number of pages14
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 2,6-dichlorobenzamide
  • Atrazine degradation products
  • Dea:atrazine ratio
  • Nitrate
  • S-triazine herbicides
  • Tap and spring water


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