Pesticide pollution in Jiulong River, China

Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

A recently published study in the journal Chemosphere sought to investigate the number of pesticide contaminants and their distribution in the Jiulong River in China. Scientists tested 35 different sites along the river for 102 different pesticides. Samples of water, sediment and clam tissues were analyzed at each site. Researchers detected a total of 82 pesticides in the river, most present at low to medium levels. One exception was DDT, a toxic pesticide that remains persistent in the environment for very long periods of time. DDT was detected at high levels due to its use in nearby orchards where it is an ingredient in the pesticide dicofol. Due to pesticide accumulation, the researchers determined that the consumption of clams posed a greater health risk to humans than the consumption of water. Analyses also indicated that pesticide levels in water were great enough to cause concern for the health of fish and potentially other aquatic wildlife.