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Assessing spatial distribution, sources, and human health risk of organochlorine pesticide residues in the soils of arid and semiarid areas of northwest China

Huang, Tao, Guo, Qiang, Tian, Hui, Mao, Xiaoxuan, Ding, Zhongyuan, Zhang, Gan, Li, Jun, Ma, Jianmin, Gao, Hong
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.9 pp. 6124-6135
DDT (pesticide), adults, arid soils, chemical industry, children, chlordane, endosulfan, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, human health, lindane, pesticide residues, pollutants, risk, risk assessment, rural areas, semiarid zones, soil sampling, topsoil, urban areas, China
Thirty-two topsoil samples were collected to analyze the residue levels of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in topsoil of arid and semiarid areas of northwest China in 2011. Results showed that DDTs were the dominant contaminants with a mean concentration of 12.52 ng/g. The spatial distribution characteristics indicated that α-hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) were mainly used in rural sites, whereas hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and endosulfan were detected mostly in urban areas. DDTs, heptachlor, and chlordane were found almost equally in both urban and rural areas. Source identification revealed that the current levels of HCHs in soils were attributable to the residues from their historical use and fresh usage of lindane (γ-HCH). DDTs were mainly from historical use and fresh usage of dicofol, and HCB was emitted from the chemical industry. It was also found that the current soil levels of heptachlor were mainly from its historical usage, endosulfan from fresh input, and chlordane from long-range atmospheric transport, respectively. The noncarcinogenic health risk assessment with a model was also conducted using USEPA standards for adults and children. Results indicated that health risk under nondietary exposure to OCPs decreased in the sequence of ΣDDT > ΣHCH > HCB > Σheptachlor > Σendosulfan > Σchlordane. According to the reference dose from the USEPA, the health risk under nondietary exposure to OCPs in the soil samples was at a relatively safe level.