Publication details

Atmospheric Occurrence of Organochlorine Pesticides and Inhalation Cancer Risk in Urban Areas at Southeast Brazil


GUIDA Yago DE CARVALHO Gabriel Oliveira CAPELLA Raquel POZO Karla Andrea LINO Adan Santos AZEREDO Antonio PENA CARVALHO Daniele Fernandes FERREIRA BRAGA Alfesio Luis MACHADO TORRES Joao Paulo MEIRE Rodrigo Ornellas

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Environmental Pollution
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Persistent organic pollutants; Chemical dumping sites; Environmental contamination; Outdoor air pollution; Human exposure; Risk assessment
Description Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) have been produced for almost a century and some of them are still used, even after they have been proved to be toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative and prone to long-range transport. Brazil has used and produced pesticides in industrial scales for both agricultural and public health purposes. Urban and industrial regions are of special concern due to their high population density and their increased exposure to chemical pollution, many times enhanced by chemical production, application or irregular dumping. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the occurrence of OCPs in outdoor air of urban sites from two major regions of southeast Brazil. Some of these sites have been affected by OCP production and their irregular dumping. Deterministic and probabilistic inhalation cancer risk (CR) assessments were conducted for the human populations exposed to OCPs in ambient air. Ambient air was mainly affected by Sigma-HCH (median = 340 pg m(-3)) and Sigma-DDT (median = 233 pg m(-3)), the only two OCPs registered for domissanitary purposes in Brazil. OCP concentrations tended to be higher in summer than in winter. Dumping sites resulted in the highest OCP atmospheric concentrations and, thus, in the highest CR estimations. Despite of all limitations, probabilistic simulations suggested that people living in the studied regions are exposed to an increased risk of hepatic cancer. Infants and toddlers (0 < 2 y) were exposed to the highest inhalation CRs compared to other age groups. Other exposure pathways (such as ingestion and dermic uptake) are needed for a more comprehensive risk assessment. Moreover, this study also highlights the need to review the human exposure to OCPs through inhalation and their respective CR in other impacted areas worldwide, especially where high levels of OCPs are still being measured.

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