Fish consumption from urban impoundments: what are the health risks associated with DDTs and other organochlorine pesticides in fish to township residents of a major inland city
Wolmarans, Nico J.
Smit, Nico J.
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Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in South Africa have for the most part been banned, except dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) which is still used as malaria vector control. The aim of this study was to determine OCP residues in the aquatic fauna of one of South Africa's most populated areas, Soweto. Risk to human health through OCP exposure via fish consumption was investigated. Clarias gariepinus was chosen as bioindicator because it is an apex predator that is in abundance, but is also a valued food source. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), and chlordanes (CHLs) were detected in the fish tissue with the DDTs being the most prevalent at all sites. Of the three locations, Fleurhof, Orlando, and Lenasia, the latter location's fish had the highest ΣOCP load, ranging between 81 and 1190 ng/g wm. The DDTs were determined to be from historic use, whereas the CHL levels indicated more recent inputs. Although the possibility of illegal use cannot be excluded completely, the presence of OCPs outside of their allowed areas of use indicate that these compounds not only stay in the aquatic systems long term, but may be of concern in areas previously not considered high risk areas. The OCP residues in C. gariepinus from the study area pose an extremely high risk to human health when consumed, and has a cancer risk as high as 1 in 10. This potential problem should be kept in consideration when developing national health and conservation strategies