An inter-laboratory comparison exercise was organized among European laboratories, under the aegis of EU COST Action 636: "Xenobiotics in Urban Water Cycle" The objective was to evaluate the performance of testing laboratories determining "Endocrine Disrupting Compounds" (EDC) in various aqueous matrices. As the main task three steroid estrogens. 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol, 17 beta-estradiol and estrone were determined in four spiked aqueous matrices' tap water, river water and wastewater treatment plant influent and effluent using GC-MS and LC-MS/MS Results were compared and discussed according to the analytical techniques applied, the accuracy and reproducibility of the analytical methods and the nature of the sample matrices. Overall, the results obtained in this inter-laboratory exercise reveal a high level of competence among the participating laboratories for the detection of steroid estrogens in water samples indicating that GC-MS as well as LC-MS/MS can equally be employed for the analysis of natural and synthetic hormones. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.