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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front Envir Sci Eng    2012, Vol. 6 Issue (1) : 2-16
Addressing the environmental risk of persistent organic pollutants in China
Bin WANG, Jun HUANG, Shubo DENG, Xiaoling YANG, Gang YU()
POPs Research Center, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 10084, China
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The Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was adopted in 2001. This year is the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention. Until now, 22 chemicals or chemical categories have been listed as POPs in the Stockholm Convention. The POPs Research Center was established in Tsinghua University in the same year when the Convention was adopted. In the last ten years, much work has been done by Chinese researchers to understand the environmental risk of POPs in China. This article aims to review the recent research progress of our POPs Research Center and some other Chinese researchers’ studies in addressing the environmental risk of POPs, including the priority screening and inventory study of POPs, monitoring and modeling of POPs pollution and exposure, and environmental risk assessment and modeling of POPs. Although great advances in addressing the environmental risk of POPs have been made in recent years, we are still facing quite a few problems, such as data scarcity and uncertainty in environmental risk assessment of POPs. The study on the effect of POPs mixtures is in its infancy and currently POPs are usually assessed from legal perspective by risk assessment of single chemicals. These problems should be well addressed by further efforts. Further studies should also be taken in future to study environment risk of POPs by considering aspects of coupled dynamics between climate processes and POPs. Such sound scientific, risk-based information can support decision-making aiming to effectively minimize the risk level of POPs.

Keywords persistent organic pollutant (POPs)      environmental risk assessment      inventory      environmental monitoring      fugacity model      emerging POPs     
Corresponding Authors: YU Gang,   
Issue Date: 01 February 2012
 Cite this article:   
Bin WANG,Jun HUANG,Shubo DENG, et al. Addressing the environmental risk of persistent organic pollutants in China[J]. Front Envir Sci Eng, 2012, 6(1): 2-16.
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Shubo DENG
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Fig.1  General distribution of existing PCBs in China
Fig.2  Flow chart diagram of China dioxin emission inventory methodology []
Fig.3  DDTs and HCHs in water bodies in China: (a) sediment; (b) water
productionPOP-PBDEs (PentaBDE and OctaBDE) are not produced anymore in China, but the non-listed DecaBDE still is, which can degrade to POP-PBDEs.Mass produced. The productions in 2004-2006 were 91, 165, and 247 t, respectively.Until 2009, there is only one DP factory in Jiangsu Province. The output is about 300 tons. However, its production capacity will be increased by several times.China is the largest producer of chlorinated paraffins (CPs). But the exact information about SCCPs production is unavailable.
usageMass used as flame retardants.Textile treatment, metal plating, semiconductor production, and fire-fighting foams are the main industries in China that utilize PFOS, with consumption amounts of 100 , 25 , 0.5 , and 80 t, respectively.Mass used as flame retardants.Use as additives in lubricants and cutting fluids, as well as flame retardants and plasticizers.
potential sourceE-waste dismantling in Guangdong and Zhejiang etc. During the Production and Usage.During the Production and Usage. STPs are also identified to be important sources.Mainly by usage. Production may be an unimportant source in China. E-waste dismantling maybe a significant source.During the Production and Usage. STPs are also identified to be important sources.
research statusRelatively well studied in the multimedia environment, human, and organisms.Quite a few studies have been conducted in the various environmental matrices, humans, and organisms.Some studies have been conducted on DP pollution in China in very recent years.Several studies on the SCCPs pollution in China have been reported only in recent two years.
pollution statusIn some e-waste dismantling sites in Guangdong and Zhejiang Provinces, the levels are very high. BDE-209 is usually the dominant congener.PFOS is usually the dominant perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the environment, except in the water. PFOS levels in China are relatively low, due to the lower usage in China compared to North America.The DP levels in air in China are comparable to those in air in Great Lakes, USA. The DP levels in soil in Huai’an were compared with the sediment concentrations in Lakes Ontario and Erie. High human exposure levels to DP in e-waste dismantling areas were observed.SCCPs levels in influent of a STP are higher than those reported in Japan. In China, SCCPs occur widely in the natural water body, the effluent-receiving aquatic ecosystem, and the wastewater irrigated area.
Tab.1  Summary of emerging POPs in China (updated from [])
Fig.4  Model-estimated mirex pollution in soil in China (pg·g dw) []
Fig.5  Food web relationship in Bohai Bay used for food web model [,]
Fig.6  Multi-level ERA concept corresponding to the exposure life cycle of POPs
Fig.7  Framework of ecological risk assessment of POPs: ① data acquisition; ② exposure assessment; ③ hazard assessment; ④ risk characterization)
Fig.8  SSDs with 95% confidence interval derived from parametric approach and nonparametric bootstrap approach []: (a) SSD based on log-normal regression; (b) SSD based on modified bootstrap method
Fig.9  General ecological risk of DDT in Chinese provinces []: (a) HQ; (b) PAF
Fig.10  Illustration of the Joint Probability Curve (JPC) []
Fig.11  Illustration of (a) HQ distribution and (b) exceedance probability of HQs based on Monte Carlo simulation []
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