Phthalate esters and organochlorine pesticides in agricultural soils and vegetables from fast-growing regions: a case study from eastern China

Jianteng Sun, Lili Pan, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Zhiheng Li, Lizhong Zhu, Xiangdong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated phthalate esters (PAEs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in agricultural soils and vegetables from eastern China. The concentrations of PAEs ranged from 109 to 5560 ng/g in soils and 60.1 to 2390 ng/g in cabbages, with average concentrations of 946 and 601 ng/g, respectively. The concentrations of OCPs ranged from <0.1 to 662 ng/g in soils and <0.1 to 42.8 ng/g in cabbages, with average concentrations of 134 and 11.6 ng/g, respectively. OCPs were mainly in the 0–30 cm surface soil layers, while PAEs could infiltrate in deep soil profiles to 70–80 cm layer. Potential source analysis traced the occurrence of OCPs to both historical application and current usage, whereas building materials and agricultural plastic film were possible input sources of PAEs in the ambient environment. OCPs showed no apparent effect on soil microbial communities, whereas significant negative relationship was observed between PAEs and fungi in soils (R = −0.54, p < 0.01). Human health risk assessment data revealed marginal noncarcinogenic risks and low carcinogenic risks in these soils. Notably, PAEs posed a comparable or higher risk level compared with that of OCPs. This study suggests the need for better regulation on pollution control and management of PAE-elevated sites to protect soil quality and food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Microbial community
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Phthalate esters
  • Plant accumulation
  • Soil profile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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