An Integrated Approach to Developing a Total Facility Estrogen Budget at a Swine Farrowing CAFO

EPA Grant Number: R833420
Title: An Integrated Approach to Developing a Total Facility Estrogen Budget at a Swine Farrowing CAFO
Investigators: Kullman, Seth W. , Linden, Karl G. , Reckhow, Kenneth H. , Meyer, M. T.
Current Investigators: Kullman, Seth W. , Reckhow, Kenneth H. , Meyer, M. T.
Institution: Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences , Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory , Pratt School of Engineering , North Carolina State University
Current Institution: North Carolina State University , Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences , Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2013 (Extended to January 31, 2014)
Project Amount: $663,532
RFA: Fate and Effects of Hormones in Waste from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS) (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Endocrine Disruptors , Human Health , Safer Chemicals


Little information is available regarding the concentration, release, fate and transport of estrogenic compounds in animal waste treatment and storage facilities. Naturally occurring estrogens in animal wastes present an emerging risk to terrestrial and aquatic environments through their potential release and action as endocrine disruptors. Given the trend in agriculture toward concentrated animal feeding operations and the extensive volume of waste generated, the potential for environmental impact “cannot be overstated. Large data gaps include: operation specific generation, concentrations and fate of these hormones, their conjugates and metabolites throughout CAFO facilities. Specifically, little data has been generated evaluating estrogen loads from differing swine operations such as farrowing and finishing facilities. We must develop quantitative information regarding: reproductive status and estrogen excretion by individual animals, the stability of estrogens in open pit holding lagoons and mobility of estrogens to surface waters following spray field application of swine waste as fertilizer. To address these data gaps we shall focus on a swine farrowing CAFO based on its operational units. By creating a hierarchical structure, assessments of estrogen fate will be “parameterized” and used for input into a Bayesian network model.


As such, we propose two specific aims:

1. Establish “total facility estrogen budget” based upon composite measurements of natural estrogenic compounds throughout a swine farrowing (CAFO).

2. Develop a Bayesian network model that will characterize causal relationships for a total facility estrogen budget in a probabilistic manner. Our experimental approach is designed as “proof of principle” to test the hypothesis that a mass balance for total estrogen equivalents from swine CAFOs can be predicted based on quantitative input and modeling of estrogen concentrations throughout each facility.

Expected Results:

The anticipated result of this project is prioritization of operational practices in regards to waste management strategies and contributions of total estrogens to the environment. With this knowledge we will be well poised to predict and determine the over all contribution of estrogenic compounds originating from differing swine operations. This will aid in developing a comprehensive understanding of the fate and movement of these compounds, their putative impact on surrounding environments and the ultimately the impact of these agricultural practices on local and regional watersheds.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 26 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Endocrine disruptors, CAFOs, swine, modeling,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report