Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 1339–1353 | Cite as

Residues and sources of organochlorine pesticides in soils of elementary schools and communities in Wenchuan 5.12 Earthquake-affected areas

  • Qiangbin Zhang
  • Wei Huang
  • Xianlei Zhu
  • Qinping Song
  • Zhihua Fan
Original Paper


The disinfectants and pesticides extensively used after Wenchuan 5.12 Earthquake on May 12, 2008 (so-called Wenchuan 5.12 Earthquake), for epidemic prevention purpose can raise great concerns of environmental pollution and potential personal exposure. To investigate the soil pollution caused by the intensive application in earthquake-affected areas, surface soil samples from two elementary schools, two communities and two background areas were collected in Beichuan County and Dujiangyan City once per location in spring and in autumn in 2011 and then analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). The results showed serious soil pollution of hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs, 0.05–60.05 ng/g) and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDTs, 0.06–35.79 ng/g) in the study areas compared with Wolong Nature Reserve (0.03–0.81 ng/g for HCHs and 0.02–0.40 ng/g for DDTs). The concentrations of most OCPs in soil of Beichuan County (e.g., 0.10–60.05 ng/g for HCHs and 0.17–35.79 ng/g for DDTs) were much higher than those of Dujiangyan City (e.g., 0.05–20.58 ng/g for HCHs and 0.06–10.69 ng/g for DDTs). In Beichuan County, the highest concentrations of HCHs and DDTs were found in the elementary school. In Dujiangyan City, the highest concentrations of HCHs and DDTs were found in the elementary school and the community, respectively. The concentrations of HCHs and DDTs were generally higher in spring than those in autumn. The predominant species (γ-HCH in ∑HCHs and 4,4′-DDT in ∑DDTs) and specific ratios suggested new inputs of lindane and technical DDT in the study areas. Therefore, continuous soil monitoring and possible intervention would be recommended to minimize local residents’ exposure to these toxic chemicals.


The Wenchuan 5.12 violent earthquake Organochlorine pesticides Soil Elementary school Community 



This research project was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41072271, 40841026). Meanwhile, the authors wish to thank those who provided great support to this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiangbin Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Huang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Xianlei Zhu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Qinping Song
    • 1
  • Zhihua Fan
    • 5
  1. 1.College of GeosciencesChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resource and ProspectingChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Metrology and Reference MaterialsInstitute for Environmental Reference Materials of Ministry of Environmental ProtectionBeijingChina
  4. 4.Beijing Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Pollution ControlChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina
  5. 5.Division of Exposure Science, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences InstituteRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

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