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Organochlorine pesticides in the sedimentary core of the southern Tibetan Plateau: The missing pieces induced by lateral remobilization

Li, Jun, Yuan, Guo-Li, Duan, Xu-Chuan, Sun, Yong, Yu, Hong-Hui, Wang, Gen-Hou
Environmental pollution 2018 v.233 pp. 340-347
DDE (pesticide), DDT (pesticide), HCH (pesticide), air, atmospheric deposition, endosulfan, lakes, persistent organic pollutants, sediments, soil, watersheds, China
The sedimentary core in remote alpine lakes has been recognized as an ideal proxy to reconstruct the emission and air deposition histories of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Nevertheless, POPs formerly stored in a catchment might also contribute to the variation in the lake sediment by lateral remobilization. In this study, to reveal the relative importance of lateral remobilization, we measured the vertical profiles and isomeric ratios of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) and endosulfan in a dated sedimentary core collected from Lake Yamzho Yumco in the southern Tibetan Plateau. In addition to the flux peaks in the 1970s corresponding to the heavy atmospheric deposition of DDTs and HCHs, these pollutants’ fluxes displayed rebounds in the flood periods, with characteristic low ratios of DDT/DDE (α-/β-HCH). This might indicate a massive remobilization of “weathered” pesticides from catchment soil to the lake because of strong hydro-dynamics. Moreover, the relative contribution of lateral remobilization to the lake sediment in the past decades was recognized through the correlation between DDT/DDE (α-/β-HCH) ratios and ∑DDT (∑HCH) fluxes. The results showed that the lateral remobilization contributed to 20–42% of the total fluxes. This study discriminated the air deposition from the contribution of lateral remobilization, which improves current understanding of the vertical POPs profiles in the sedimentary core.