The continuous introduction of new products used as growth promoters in animal husbandry, for sports doping and as products for body-building requires residue laboratories to initiate research on developing a strategy for the identification of 'unknown' components. In this study, a strategy is presented for elucidating the identity, the structure and the possible effects of illegal estrogenic compounds in an unidentified water-based solution. To obtain complete information on the composition and activity of the unidentified product, a multidisciplinary approach was needed. A case-study is described with a 'solution X' found during a raid. First, in vivo techniques (animal trials with mice, anatomical and histological research) were combined with in vitro techniques (the yeast estrogenic screen (YES)). In a later stage of the investigation, HPLC-fractionation, liquid chromatography-multiple mass spectrometry (LC-MSn) and gas chromatography-multiple mass spectrometry (GC-MSn) were used. Finally, the identity of 'solution X' was confirmed in a very low concentration range (10 ng/L estrone and 400 ng/l ethinyloestradiol).