Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 2525–2538 | Cite as

Residues of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in aquatic environment and risk assessment along Shaying River, China

  • Ying Bai
  • Xiaohong RuanEmail author
  • J. P. van der Hoek
Original Paper


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are pesticides with global scale ubiquity, persistence and bioaccumulation, which leave long-term residuals in the water body. OCPs’ high toxicity poses significant threats to human health and aquatic biodiversity, making assessment of OCPs’ impact on aquatic ecology and human health urgently necessary. In this research, the presence of 16 OCPs in surface water and groundwater along Shaying River, China, as well as OCPs concentration correlations, was investigated at 24 selected sampling sites. At the same time, the ecological risk and human carcinogenic risk were also analyzed by risk quotient method and USEPA’s Risk Assessment Guidance, respectively. Results showed that the total concentration of OCPs ranged from 21.0 to 61.4 ng L−1 in groundwater, and 12.3–77.5 ng L−1 in surface water. Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCHs) and heptachlor were the prominent contaminants in groundwater, which indicated their use in the recent past and confirmed their persistence. The α-HCH/γ-HCH ratios in groundwater confirmed that γ-HCH (lindane) was used as main substitute of technical HCH in the study area. The correlation analysis illustrated that δ-HCH and γ-HCH played a dominant role in HCHs residue. Heptachlor and α-HCH, as well as endosulfan and heptachlor epoxide, had a strongly significant positive correlation, suggesting an associated usage of the two pair OCPs. An extremely high ecological risk for aquatic organism was observed for γ-HCH, heptachlor and dieldrin, while the carcinogenic risks posed by the selected OCPs in surface water and groundwater were all acceptable.


Organochlorine pesticides Surface water and groundwater Risk assessment 



Organochlorine pesticides




Dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane


Relative standard deviation


Instrument detection limits


Method detection limits


Risk quotient


Measured concentration of OCPs


Predicted no-effect concentrations for a particular OCP


Assessment factor


Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund


Total carcinogenic risk


Principal component analysis


United States Environment Protection Agency



This study was funded by Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41230640) and Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant No. 2012ZX07204-003).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Bai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaohong Ruan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • J. P. van der Hoek
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Surfacial Geochemistry, Ministry of EducationNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Hydrosciences, School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of Water ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Strategic CentreWaternetAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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