Which persistent organic pollutants in the rivers of the Bohai region of China represent the greatest risk to the local ecosystem?

Zhang, Yueqing; Johnson, Andrew C.; Su, Chao; Zhang, Meng; Juergens, Monika D.; Shi, Yajuan; Lu, Yonglong. 2017 Which persistent organic pollutants in the rivers of the Bohai region of China represent the greatest risk to the local ecosystem? Chemosphere, 178. 11-18.

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Freshwater aquatic organisms can be exposed to hundreds of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) discharged by natural and anthropogenic activities. Given our limited resources it is necessary to identify, from the existing evidence, which is the greatest threat so that control measures can be targeted wisely. The focus of this study was to rank POPs according to the relative risk they represent for aquatic organisms in rivers in the Bohai Region, China. A list of 14 POPs was compiled based on the available data on their presence in these rivers and ecotoxicological data. Those that were widely detected were benzo[a]pyrene, p,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDT, endrin, fluoranthene, heptachlor, hexabromocyclododecane, hexachlorobenzene, alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane, gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane, naphthalene, perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonate and phenanthrene. Effect concentrations were compiled for Chinese relevant and standard test species and compared with river aqueous concentrations. Only bed-sediment concentrations were available so water levels were calculated based on the known local sediment organic carbon concentration and the Koc. The POPs were ranked on the ratio between the median river and median effect concentrations. Of the POPs studied, fluoranthene was ranked as the highest threat, followed by phenanthrene, naphthalene and p,p'-DDE. The risk from p,p'-DDE may be magnified due to being highly bioaccumulative. However, the greatest overlap between river concentrations and effect levels was for lindane. Overall, fish was the most sensitive species group to the risks from POPs. Hotspots with the highest concentrations and hence risk were mainly associated with watercourses draining in Tianjin, the biggest city in the Bohai Region.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Rees (from October 2014)
ISSN: 0045-6535
Additional Keywords: ecological risk, POPs, fluoranthene, risk ranking, Bohai region
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 29 Mar 2017 13:39 +0 (UTC)

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