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PLoS One. 2018 Oct 31;13(10):e0205680. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205680. eCollection 2018.

Application of catastrophe theory in comprehensive ecological security assessment of plastic greenhouse soil contaminated by phthalate esters.

Zhou W1, Ma T2,3, Chen L4, Wu L3, Luo Y3,5.

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School of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Hubei University of Arts and Science, Xiangyang, China.
Institute of Hanjiang, Hubei University of Arts and Science, Xiangyang, China.
Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China.
Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry, Shanghai, China.
Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, China.


Large amount of phthalate esters (PAEs) used as plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products has caused ubiquitous contamination to the environment and potential ecology security risk all around the world, especially in places plastic films were indispensably utilized due to the widely proposing of facility agriculture in China. A case of PAEs contamination in four suburb areas of Nanjing was analyzed and discussed in this study. A new frame work has been put forward based on multi-criteria evaluation model and mathematical method of catastrophe theory, using farming work, laboratory determination and relevant environmental standards to measure the ecology security risk of PAEs in study areas. The factors were selected based on the availability of the data and the local conditions. The assessment model involves the contamination status of PAEs in soil and vegetables, the contamination effects of PAEs to human and soil organisms and the contamination source of PAEs from plastic films and other products in the four study facility agriculture areas. An evaluation system of the model was composed of thirteen mesosphere indicators and twenty-five underlying indicators including total PAEs concentration in soils, single PAE concentration in soils, total PAEs concentrations in roots, leafy, solanaceous and stem vegetables, PAE human risks, soil microbial counts, microorganism diversity indices, atmospheric deposition of PAEs, whether sewage wastewater irrigation, planting mode of the facility agriculture areas and climate condition of study areas. The modified evaluation system was used in the assessment of ecology security of the same place based on the data of 2012, and the results suggested that the ecology security indicators were reliable and were agree well with the practical situation of the study areas. The results could provide guidance for the application of health risk assessment of soil environment for the strong objectivity of catastrophe theory compared with other evaluation methods.

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