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Article Title

Dissipation of organochlorine insecticide residues in the environment of Taiwan, 1973-1999

Authors

C.H. Wang
C. Liu

Abstract

Organochlorine insecticides were used in Taiwan for agricultural and public health purposes mainly from 1950 to 1974. In this study, various survey and analysis studies on soil, water, sediment and animals from 1973 to 1999 were compared, temporal trends were analyzed, and the significance was discussed. In 1973, DDT, DDE, DDD, dieldrin, lindane and aldrin were the major organochlorine insecticides found at higher levels in rice paddy soil in Taiwan. In 1981, average total DDTs concentration of surface soil decreased to one-third of the 1973 level. Subsequently in 1994, total DDTs concentration in surface soil again decreased to one-third of the 1981 level. Dieldrin, lindane and aldrin concentrations decreased even faster and were much lower compared to DDT since 1981. Organochlorine insecticide mean concentrations in river water had reached ppt levels from 1973-1976, but were rarely detected in the 1990s. River sediment concentrations showed a rapid decrease from 1973 to 1976, but although there were variations among different rivers in Taiwan, sediment concentrations of lindane, DDT, DDE and aldrin reached a few ppb and were higher in 1981 compared to 1973-1976 on average. In recent years, total organochlorine insecticide concentration decreased to the ppb level, with most individual insecticide concentrations below 1 ppb. Shellfish organochlorine pesticide concentrations were slightly higher than sediment, and shellfish DDT, DDE, aldrin, dieldrin concentrations also showed an increase from 1973 to 1983 on average. The mean concentrations of DDT and aldrin were higher than 10 ppb in shellfish in 1983 and decreased to below the ppb level in the 1990s. Fish muscle contained ppb levels of organochlorine insecticides in 1973. In recent years, most of the organochlorine insecticide concentrations in shellfish and fish were less than 1 ppb except DDE. Duck eggs and human milk had been found to contain sub ppm levels of DDT and DDE in the 1970s and 1980s, but there was few recent data available. Although organochlorine insecticide levels in the environment of Taiwan have fallen fast over the last 26 years, DDTs and other organochlorine insecticide residue levels in higher animals should be determined for their bioaccumulation potential through the food chain.

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