Distribution, sources, and ecological risks of organochlorine pesticides in surface sediments from the Yellow River Estuary, China
Thirty-four surface sediment samples were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), in order to provide information on levels, distribution and sources of these compounds in the Yellow River Estuary, China. The levels of the organochlorine pesticides in samples were detected by the technique of soxhlet extraction followed by analysis by gas chromatography (GC) coupled with a mass selective detector. Total concentrations of OCPs ranged widely from 0.06 to 53.4 ng g−1, with a mean value of 44.84 ng g−1, at the mid level of pesticide concentrations compared to those reported in other regions worldwide. HCHs were the predominant species in the study area. The ratios of α-HCH/γ-HCH indicated that the technical HCH contamination was mainly due to a recent input of lindane in upper reach of Yellow River Estuary. The ratios of (DDD + DDE)/DDTs and DDD/DDE suggested that DDTs in sediments came mainly from the degradation of historical DDT in the environment, and DDT could be much easier to degrade into DDD under anaerobic conditions. Principal component analysis (PCA) could conclude that most of the OCPs came from early input and historical degradation products in the study area. Based on the sediment quality guidelines, γ-HCH and p'p-DDE would be of more concern for the ecotoxicological risk in this study area.