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Chemosphere. 2003 Sep;52(9):1423-30.

Fate and assessment of persistent organic pollutants in water and sediment from Minjiang River Estuary, Southeast China.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, POPs Research Centre, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Persistent organochlorine compounds were analyzed in surface water, porewater and surficial sediment samples from Minjiang River Estuary, which is the first large river in Fujian Province, Southeast of China. The total concentrations of 18 organochlorine pesticides were 214.4-1819, 4541-13,699 ng/l, 28.79-52.07 ng/g in surface water, porewater and sediments (dry weight) respectively, and those of 21 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the three phases were: 203.9-2473, 3192-10,855 ng/l, 15.14-57.93 ng/g respectively. The results showed that the concentrations of these selected organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in porewater were higher than those in surface water. It may be due to the fact that these organic hydrophobic pollutants tend to stay in the sediments, and then re-suspend from the sedimentary phase to the upper water. We have analyzed the distribution characteristics of individual organochlorine pesticide components and PCBs, and found that alpha-HCH, DDE, Heptachlor, Endosulfan II, Methoxychlor were the most common organochlorine pesticides contaminants. Considering the groups of HCHs (HCHs=alpha-HCH+beta-HCH+gamma-HCH+delta-HCH) and DDTs (DDTs=DDT+DDD+DDE), the predominance of beta-HCH, DDE in all water, porewater and sediment samples was clearly observed. This observation suggested that beta-HCH was resistant to biodegradation and the DDTs had been transformed to its metabolites, DDE and DDD, of which DDE that was more un-degradable. The PCB congeners containing 3-6 chlorines had the great preponderance in the three phase. These results were compared with those present in other estuaries and harbors. A risk assessment was evaluated for the persistent organic pollutants in the Minjiang River Estuary.

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