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Passive atmospheric sampling of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in urban, rural and wetland sites along the coastal length of India.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Gan Zhang
  • Paromita Chakraborty
  • Jun Li
  • Pichai Sampathkumar
  • Thangavel Balasubramanian
  • Kandasamy Kathiresan
  • Shin Takahashi
  • Annamalai Subramanian
  • Shinsuke Tanabe
  • Kevin C. Jones
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/11/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number22
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)8218-8223
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


India is of prime interest due to the large past and ongoing use of pesticidal persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Rapid dissipation of POPs to the atmosphere in the tropical climate of India infers an atmospheric outflow of these chemicals. Yet data on POPs in the atmosphere of India are sparse. Passive air samplers consisting of polyurethane foam disks were therefore deployed concurrently at 18 locations and exposed for 6 weeks from July 30, 2006, to September 26, 2006, along the coastal length of India to screen for POPs in the atmosphere. The sampling sites were selected to form categories of urban, rural, and background (mangrove/wetlands) locations. Derived air concentrations (pg/m3) ranged as follows: the sum of 28 PCB congeners, 120−1080; DDTs, 16−2950; HCHs, 66−5400; chlordanes, 9−921; endosulfans, 0.45−1120; and the sum of 9 PBDE congeners, 1−181. The highest levels of all the detected POPs (except endosulfan) were observed at the urban sites, indicating the dominant areas of usage and emissions. An urban−rural composition fractionation of PCBs indicates their atmospheric movement. The γ-HCH levels were more than double those of α-HCH, indicating the sporadic use of lindane. DDT concentrations were elevated, at levels comparable to China, but with much higher percentages of p,p′-DDE, reflecting a more ‘weathered’ feature. Although no dicofol use was recorded in India, the o,p′-/p,p′-DDT ratios were observed to be even higher than in China. Chlordanes showed high trans-/cis-chlordane (TC/CC) ratios, indicative of the current use of technical chlordane and a contribution from heptachlor usage.