The assessment of endocrine disrupting potentials of field sediments has until now been mostly limited to classical chemical analysis, in vitro assays and in vivo bioassays performed with vertebrates. There is an urgent need for easy, cheap and reproducible invertebrate tests which may be applied in certain monitoring activities. Since the mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum is known to be tolerant to natural stressors, but also sensitive to endocrine disrupting chemicals, it is very likely that this organism could be suitable for the assessment of endocrine effects of e.g. field sediments. Within this study the endocrine potential of sediments in three European river basins was assessed. The yeast estrogen screen (YES) and a sediment contact test with P. antipodarum were performed. Furthermore, analyses of physico-chemical properties and concentrations of heavy metals, PAHs, organotins, natural steroids and alkylphenols were done. In the sediment contact test, the reproduction of the snail was promoted by a part of the sediments. This phenomenon could not be explained by their physico-chemical properties. However, at some of those sites a high estrogenic activity was detected in the YES, leading to the assumption that endocrine disrupting compounds could be responsible for those effects. This assumption could be confirmed to some extent with partially high concentrations of xeno-estrogens (e.g. nonylphenol) at the certain sites. Our study demonstrates the applicability of the test with P. antipodarum for a variety of sediments and once again points out the need of suitable in vivo biotests for the risk assessment of field sediments. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.