Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 187–198 | Cite as

Contamination and Exposure Profiles of Persistent Organic Pollutants (PAHs and OCPs) in Groundwater at a Terai Belt of North India

  • Amit MasihEmail author
  • J. K. Lal
  • Devendra Kumar Patel
Original Paper


A study of persistent organic pollutants in groundwater was conducted at selected locations in Gorakhpur (terai belt in the north part of India) for a span of 1 year in order to ascertain their contamination levels. Water samples were collected from nine stations which covers roadside, residential, and agricultural sites (three stations per area) of Gorakhpur in the year 2010–2011. Two different compounds were determined: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). High-pressure liquid chromatography was used for PAH analysis whereas capillary gas chromatography with electron capture detector (ECD) was used for OCP analysis. The most often detected OCPs were pp-DDT (67 %) whereas pp-DDD, pp-DDE, and \({\upbeta }\)-HCH occurred rarely. The concentration of pesticides ranged from 2.98 to 13.27 ng/L. Total concentration of the measured PAHs varied between 10.24 and 43.85 ng/L. Among all PAHs, ANT and FLT were predominant, while the most carcinogenic PAH, i.e., B(a)P represented only 2 % of the total PAH content. Carcinogenic potency of PAH compounds was calculated and found to be insignificant at present level in the groundwater of Gorakhpur. Levels of POPs in the groundwater can help in environment risk assessment.


Groundwater PAHs OCPs Carcinogenic potency  TEFs Terai belt 



Financial support from the University Grants Commission in minor research project No. 8-1(184)2010 (MRP/NRCB) is duly acknowledged. I also thank Dr. S. D. Sharma, Head, Department of Chemistry, St. Andrew’s College, Gorakhpur for his encouragement.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Ajmal PY, Sahu SK, Pandit GG, Puranik VD (2010) Monitoring and assessment of persistent OC residues in sediments from Trans-Thane Creek of Mumbai. In: Proceedings of the national symposium on environment (NSE-17)Google Scholar
  2. Bhanti M, Taneja A (2007) Contamination of vegetables of different seasons with organophosphorous pesticides and related health risk assessment in northern India. Chemosphere 69:63–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhanti M, Taneja A (2005) Monitoring of organochlorine pesticide residues in summer and winter vegetables from Agra, India: a case study. Environ Monit Assess 110(1–3):341–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhanti M, Shukla G, Taneja A (2004) Contamination levels of organochlorine pesticides and farmers’ knowledge, perception, practices in rural India: a case study. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 73(5):787–793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhargava A, Khanna RN, Bhargava SK, Kumar S (2004) Exposure risk to carcinogenic PAHs in indoor-air during biomass combustion whilst cooking in rural India. Atmos Environ 38:4761–4767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bostrom CE, Gerde P, Hanberg A (2002) Cancer risk assessment, indicators and guidelines for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the ambient air. Environ Health Perspect 110:451–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cerna M, Pochmanova D, Pastorkova A, Bene I, Lenicek J, Topinka J (2000) Genotoxicity of urban air pollutants in the Czech Republic Part I. Bacterial mutagenic potencies of organic compounds adsorbed on PM10 particulate. Mutat Res Genet Toxicol 469:71–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke EEK, Levy LS, Spurgeon A, Calvert IA (1977) The problems associated with pesticide use by irrigation workers in Ghana. Occup Med 47(5):301–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Darko G, Acquaah SO (2007) Levels of organochlorine pesticides residues in meat. Int J Environ Sci Tech 4(4):521–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dickhut RM, Gustafson KE (1995) Atmospheric input of selected PAHs and PCBs to southern Chesapeake Bay. Mar Pollut Bull 30:385–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dzombak DA, Luthy RG (1984) Estimating adsorption of PAHs on soils. Soil Sci 137(5):292–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Environmental Protection Agency (1994) Test methods for evaluating solid waste, physical/chemical methods SW-846. Revision 2, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  13. EPA Region 3 (2006) Table of risk-based concentrations, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  14. Fang GC, Wu YS, Chen MH (2004) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the ambient air of suburban and industrial regions of central Taiwan. Chemosphere 54:443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ferreira MMC (2001) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: a QSPR study. Chemosphere 44:124–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Golomb D, Ryan D, Eby N, Underhill J, Zemba S (1997) Atmospheric deposition of toxics onto Massachusetts Bay-I. Metals. Atmos Environ 22:511–536Google Scholar
  17. Gshwend PM, Hites RA (1981) Fluxes of PAHs to marine and lacustrine sediments in the north-eastern United States. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 45:2359–2367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hodgson A (2003) The high cost of pesticide poisoning in northern Ghana. Pestic News 62(3):4–8Google Scholar
  19. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (1987) IARC Monograms on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans, supplement 7. IARC, LyonsGoogle Scholar
  20. Masih A (2011) Investigation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in groundwater of residential and roadside vicinity of Gorakhpur, India. Int J Biol Technol 2:10–18Google Scholar
  21. Masih A, Saini R, Taneja A (2008) Contamination and exposure profiles of priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in groundwater at a semi-arid region in India. Int J Water 4(1–2):36–147Google Scholar
  22. Masih A, Taneja A (2006) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) concentrations and related carcinogenic potencies in soil at a semi-arid region of India. Chemosphere 65:449–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Masih R, Saini R, Singhvi A Taneja (2009) Concentration, sources and exposure profiles of PAHs in particulate matter (PM10) in the north central part of India. Environ Monit Assess 163:421–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nam JJ, Song BH, Eom KC, Lee SH, Smith A (2003) Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in agricultural soils in South Korea. Chemosphere 50:1281–1289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Academy of Science (1972) Particulate polycyclic organic matter. Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  26. Osborne MR, Crosby NT (1987) Benzopyrenes. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Polkowska Z, Kot A, Wiergowski M, Wolska L (2000) Organic pollutants in precipitation: determination of pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Gdansk, Poland. Atmos Environ 34:1233–1245 Google Scholar
  28. Raiyani CV, Shah JA (1993) Levels of PAHs in ambient environment of Ahmedabad city. Indian J. Environ Prot 13(3):206–215Google Scholar
  29. Ravindra K, Mittal AK, Grieken RV (2001) Health risk assessment of urban suspended particulate matter with special reference to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: a review. Rev Environ Health 16(3):169–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sahu SK, Pandit GG, Sharma S (2001) Levels of PAHs in ambient air of Mumbai. In: Proceedings of 10th national symposium on environment, BARC, Mumbai, 279–281Google Scholar
  31. Sapota G, Wojtasik B, Burska D, Nowinski K (2009) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface sediments from selected fjords, tidal plains and lakes of the North Spitsbergen. Pol Polar Res 30(1):59–76Google Scholar
  32. Song YF, Jing X (2002) Comparative study of extraction methods for the determination of PAHs from contaminated soils and sediments. Chemosphere 48:993–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sorensen J (1994) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): comparison of ambient air concentrations of vehicular exhaust and local emissions from roofing asphalt/tar operations. Research Proposal BIOL 381/2-A Biology of PollutantsGoogle Scholar
  34. Subramaniam K, Solomon RDJ (2006) Organochlorine pesticides bhc and dde in human blood in and around Madurai, India. Indian J Clin Biochem 21(2):169–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tabak HHl (1981) Biodegradability studies with organic priority pollutant compounds. J Water Pollut Control Fed 53(10):1503–1518Google Scholar
  36. Trapido M (1999) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Estonian soil: contamination and profiles. Environ Pollut 105(1):67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tsai P-Jy, Shih TS (2004) Assessing and predicting the exposure of PAHs and their carcinogenic potencies from vehicle engine exhausts to highway toll station workers. Atmos Environ 38:333–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tyagi SK (2004) Methodology for measurement of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon in air particulates: status of PAH in the urban atmosphere of Delhi. Indian J Air Pollut Control 4:52–64Google Scholar
  39. USEPA (1980) Proposed groundwater protection strategy. U.S. EPA, Office of drinking water, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  40. USEPA (1977) Waste disposal practices and their effects on groundwater. EPA, Washington, DC, The report to congress, U.SGoogle Scholar
  41. WHO/IPCS (1998) Environmental Health Criteria 202, selected non- heterocyclic PAHs. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  42. World Health Organisation (1971) International standards for drinking water, 3rd edn, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amit Masih
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • J. K. Lal
    • 1
  • Devendra Kumar Patel
    • 2
  1. 1.Analytical Research Lab, Department of ChemistrySt. Andrew’s CollegeGorakhpurIndia
  2. 2.Analytical Chemistry SectionIndian Institute of Toxicology ResearchLucknowIndia
  3. 3.GorakhpurIndia

Personalised recommendations