Main content area

Probabilistic ecological risk assessment of DDTs in the Bohai Bay based on a food web bioaccumulation model

Wang, Bin, Yu, Gang, Huang, Jun, Wang, Tai, Hu, Hongying
The Science of the total environment 2011 v.409 no.3 pp. 495-502
DDT (pesticide), bioaccumulation factor, biogeography, ecosystems, food webs, octanol-water partition coefficients, pollutants, probabilistic risk assessment, risk, simulation models, uncertainty analysis
The fugacity-based food web model was developed to simulate the bioaccumulation of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethanes (DDTs) in the aquatic ecosystem in the Bohai Bay. The internal exposure levels (IELs) of DDTs in various organism categories were calculated. Monte Carlo-based uncertainty analysis was performed to get the of IEL distributions of DDTs in organisms. Probabilistic ecological risk assessment (ERA) was performed based on IEL distributions and internal species sensitivity distributions (SSDs). The results show that fugacities and bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) generally increased with increasing trophic level in the food web. Octanol–water partition coefficient (Kₒw), DDT levels in water and the lipid contents had the greatest influences on IELs in the organism bodies. The ecological risks of DDTs were relatively high. The risk order was p,p′-DDT>p,p′-DDE>p,p′-DDD. At an internal hazard quotient (HQᵢₙₜ) criterion of 1/5, the risk probabilities were 0.10 (0.055–0.17), 0.079 (0.045–0.13) and 0.053 (0.028–0.092) for p,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDE and p,p′-DDD, respectively. The results from ERA based on the internal exposure approximated those based on external exposure. The food web model is a feasible method to predict the extent of bioaccumulation and IELs of hydrophobic organic pollutants in organisms as a step to evaluate their risk posed on aquatic ecosystems.