Estimating the dietary exposure and risk of persistent organic pollutants in China: A national analysis

Environ Pollut. 2021 Nov 1;288:117764. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117764. Epub 2021 Jul 14.


Substantial heterogeneities have been found in previous estimations of the risk from dietary exposures to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in China, mainly due to spatiotemporal variations. To comprehensively evaluate the dietary risks of POPs listed in the Stockholm Convention, more than 27,580 data records from 753 reports published over the last three decades were examined. Respectively, for various food categories, the results obtained for the range of mean concentrations of POPs are as follows: total dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs: 1.4-27.1 μg/kg), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs: 1.8-29.3 μg/kg), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs: 0.046-2.82 μg/kg), polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs: 0.05-7.57 μg/kg), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD&Fs: 2.9-210 pg toxic equivalent (TEQ)/kg), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA: 0.02-0.97 μg/kg), perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS: 0.00082-2.76 μg/kg) and short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs: 64-348.92 μg/kg). Temporal decreasing trends were observed for DDTs, HCHs, PBDEs, PCDD&Fs, and PFOA, with no significant change for other POPs. Meanwhile, the estimated daily intake for adults were 75.2 ± 43.6 ng/kg/day for DDTs, 123 ± 87 ng/kg/day for HCHs, 0.37 ± 0.17 pg TEQ/kg/day for PCDD&Fs, 17.8 ± 9.5 ng/kg/day for PCBs, 3.3 ± 1.8 ng/kg/day for PBDEs, 3.6 ± 1.9 ng/kg/day for PFOA, 3.3 ± 2.0 ng/kg/day for PFOS, and 2.5 ± 1.6 μg/kg/day for SCCPs. Furthermore, non-carcinogenic risks were the highest for PCBs (0.89) and PCDD&Fs (0.53), followed by PFOA (0.18), PFOS (0.17), HCHs (0.062), SCCPs (0.025), DDTs (0.0075), and PBDEs (0.00047). These findings illustrated that exposure to POPs declined due to the control policies implemented in China, while the cumulative risk of POPs was still higher than 1, indicating continuous efforts are required to mitigate associated contamination.

Keywords: China; Exposure assessment; Human health; Persistent organic pollutants; Temporal trend.