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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Dec;20(12):8663-71. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1821-8. Epub 2013 May 26.

Occurrence, distribution, and ecological risk assessment of DDTs and heavy metals in surface sediments from Lake Awassa--Ethiopian Rift Valley Lake.

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  • 1Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Kita 18, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-0818, Japan.


Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) and heavy metals are ubiquitous contaminants with high bioaccumulation and persistence in the environment, which can have adverse effects on humans and animals. Although applications of DDTs have been banned in many countries, developing countries like Ethiopia are still using these for agricultural and medicinal purposes. In addition, heavy metals are naturally present in the aquatic environment and distributed globally. In this study, the occurrence, distribution, and ecological risk of DDTs and heavy metals in surface sediments from one of the Ethiopian rift valley lakes were studied. Twenty-five surface sediment samples from Lake Awassa, Ethiopia were collected and analyzed for DDTs and heavy metals. Results showed that concentrations of total DDTs ranged from 3.64 to 40.2 ng/g dry weight. High levels of DDTs were observed in the vicinity of inflow river side and coastal areas with agricultural activities. The heavy metals content were followed the order Zn>Ni>Pb>Cu>Cr>Co>As>Cd>Hg. Correlation analysis and principal components analysis demonstrated that heavy metals were originated from both natural and anthropogenic inputs. The levels of DDE and DDD in surface sediments exceeded the sediment quality guideline values, indicating that adverse effects may occur to the lake. A method based on toxic-response factor for heavy metals revealed that the calculated potential ecological risk indices showed low ecological risk for the water body.

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