Dissolved insecticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in the Pearl River Estuary and South China Sea

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Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 2002, 4 (6), pp. 922 - 928
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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as organochlorine (OCl) insecticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), together with the new generation of organophosphorus (OP) insecticides, are of global concern, due to their widespread occurrence, persistence, bioaccumulation and hormone disruption potential. This paper represents an attempt to study the source and transportation of such pollutants in estuarine and coastal environments as an integrated ecosystem, by determining the levels of 18 OCl insecticides, 21 PCB congeners, and 17 OP insecticides in the Pearl River Estuary and South China Sea. The total concentrations varied from 126-1198 ng 1-1 for OCl insecticides, 33.38-1064 ng 1-1 for PCB congeners, and 4.44-6356 ng 1-1 for OP insecticides in the Pearl River Estuary. In comparison, their levels in the South China Sea were significantly lower, varying from 57.09-202 ng 1-1 for OCl insecticides, 21.72-144 ng 1-1 for PCBs, and 1.27-122 ng 1-1 for OP insecticides, respectively. The predominance of β-HCH in HCHs, and DDE in DDTs in all water samples was clearly observed, suggesting β-HCH and DDE's resistance to further degradation. The PCBs were dominated by those with 3-6 chlorines. The distribution characteristic of OP insecticides shows that five compounds (methamidophos, dimethoate, malathion, dichlorvos and omethoate) accounted for 56% and 72% of the total OP insecticide concentration. The relationship between pollutant concentrations and salinity in the estuary showed that they were all removed during the mixing process, therefore behaving non-conservatively.
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