Hormones in tap water - what is the risk and what can be done about it?

Time and again, hormones are detected in water and fish. In male fish this has a strong changing effect. What is the risk for humans, and how hormones can be removed from the water, reveals this contribution.

hormone levels

Individual studies on waters have yielded quantities of around three billionths of a gram per liter of water. These are bodies of water into which treated wastewater from sewage treatment plants is discharged. Such waters are also called receiving waters.

The hormone levels detected in fish are sometimes significantly higher. Especially in male fish, they lead to the reduction of fertility and strong feminization.

Effect in humans

Drinking water testing, which can provide a reliable indication of the concentration of estrogen and estradiol in drinking water, there are currently only a few.

There are currently no scientific findings on the effects of human hormones in low doses over a long period of time. But most scientists do not see any acute danger from the extremely low doses.

On the other hand, the constantly decreasing sperm count in men and the rise of many illnesses, which can also be attributed to hormones, seem significant. These include testicular cancer or malformations in the genital area.

Female hormones - such as estrogen and estradiol - are also found in men, albeit in much lower concentrations. They are converted in the liver and excreted in the urine. They are formed in the testicles. The effect of a long-term intake of very low doses on men has not been scientifically proven.

Additional pollutants and interactions

In addition to hormones, there are also a high number of remnants of medicines in waters. Both pass through sewage treatment plants unhindered and accumulate in sewage sludge. From there they reach the receiving water and possibly also the groundwater.

An interaction of different substances can not be safely excluded. In addition to hormones are also residues of painkillers, tranquilizers and antibiotics. So far, about 100 different substances have been detected from wastewater, about 20 in drinking water.


Simple filtration can not remove the traces of chemicals. By means of ultrafiltration and the use of reverse osmosis systems, removal is possible in principle. But it is very complex and energy-intensive.

Tips & Tricks

Even with mineral waters, the same pollutants can be detected in many cases as in drinking water.

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