The long shadow of our chemical past – high DDT concentrations in fish near a former agrochemicals factory in England

Juergens, Monika D. ORCID:; Crosse, John; Hamilton, Patrick B.; Johnson, Andrew C. ORCID:; Jones, Kevin C.. 2016 The long shadow of our chemical past – high DDT concentrations in fish near a former agrochemicals factory in England. Chemosphere, 162. 333-344.

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A total of 81 roach (Rutilus rutilus) collected from 13 southern English river sites between 2007 and 2012, were analysed for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, PBDEs and some metals. Unexpectedly high concentrations of the banned insecticide DDT and its degradation products DDE and DDD (∑DDTs) were found in the 10 fish from the river Lee (or Lea) which averaged 88±70 (standard deviation) µg/kg ww, almost 20 times higher than the average for the remaining sites (4.8±3.1 µg/kg). All fish from that site exceeded the Canadian Tissue Residue Guideline (environmental quality standard) of 14 µg/kg ∑DDTs. Concentrations of the insecticides chlordane and lindane as well as copper, which is often used as a fungicide, were also elevated in fish from the Lee, though not as much as those of DDTs. A likely explanation for these observations was found in a nearby former pesticide factory, which had stopped production about three decades earlier. An extensive review of recent literature data on DDT in wild European fish found that, while levels are now generally low, there were several other hotspots with ∑DDTs levels that may still be of concern.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Rees (from October 2014)
ISSN: 0045-6535
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: DDT, pesticides, freshwater, fish, chlordane, copper
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 18 Aug 2016 09:11 +0 (UTC)

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