Chlorohydrocarbon pesticides in the Australian marine environment after banning in the period from the 1970s to 1980s
The chlorohydrocarbon pesticides (CHPs) (principally DDT, dieldrin, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) including lindane, chlordane, heptachlor and heptachlorepoxide, aldrin and hexachlorobenzene (HCB)) were used extensively in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s. These were progressively banned from the 1970s with DDT being totally banned in 1987. The levels in marine waters are believed to have progressively declined as indicated by water in the Brisbane River, which consistently fell from maximum concentrations of about 1.7 姯l in 1972-1973 to not detectable in 1986-1987. In some urban areas sediment concentrations, up to 1700 姯kg dry weight, were recorded in the early 1990s which may reflect the reworking and exposure of older more contaminated material. Fish exhibited consistent occurrence of DDT, HCH, dieldrin and HCB through the 1970s to the 1990s. Maximum concentrations of DDT and dieldrin occurred generally in the 1970s at 40.3 and 8.8 姯g wet weight, and minimums in the 1990s at 2.4 and 0.041 姯g wet weight respectively. Inputs of dialdrin from sewage and DDT from the broad environment, reflected by the calculated daily human uptake in the diet, were shown to decline with half-lives of 1.1-1.5 and about 3 years respectively. This evidence suggests that banning of the CHPs has greatly reduced the inputs into the marine environment with consequent reductions in concentrations in biota but there is the occasional occurrence of relatively high concentrations.
Marine Pollution Bulletin: the international journal for marine environmentalists, scientists, engineers, administrators,
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