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Distribution, sources and health risk assessment of DDT and its metabolites in agricultural soils in Zhejiang Province, China

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journal contribution
posted on 23.11.2022, 18:00 authored by Ning Cui, Xiong Pan, Jing Liu

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is well known for its harmful effects and has been officially banned as a pesticide around the world. However, DDT pollution still exists in natural environments in China because DDT degrade very slowly. In this study, 60 soil samples were collected from Cixi, Zhejiang Province, and the levels of DDTs and its metabolites in soil and health risks were investigated. The results showed that the detection rate of DDT in soil samples were 100%, and the total DDTs residue in soil ranged from 0.007 to 1.208 mg/kg, with an average of 0. 113±0. 035 mg/kg, which exceeded the second-level Chinese soil environmental quality standard for farmland soil. The average residuals of p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), p,p'-DDD (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane) and o,p'-DDT accounted for 34.8%, 50.9%, 8.0% and 6.3% of the total DDTs, respectively. The DDD/DDE ratios indicated a dehydrochlorination of DDT to DDE under aerobic conditions at most sampling sites. The ratios of (p,p'-DDE+p,p'-DDD)/p,p'-DDT and o,p'-DDT/p,p'-DDT indicating the DDT in the field were mainly introduced via industrial DDT and dicofol, including historical residue and fresh input. The health risk assessment showed that DDT-contaminated sites do not pose a non-carcinogenic risk to humans, and pose a very low risk of cancer to children and a low risk of cancer to adults. Overall, this study helps to understand the distribution, sources and health risks of DDT in typical soils.


This work is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province, China [grant number 2020JQ-916], the Scientific Research Plan Projects of Shaanxi Education Department [grant number 20JK0863] and the Initiation Funds for High-level Talents Program of Xi’an International University [grant number XAIU2019013].