Spatial distribution and ecological risks of polychlorinated biphenyls in a river basin affected by traditional and emerging electronic waste recycling in South China

Shi, Jingchun, Huang, Linlin, Sanganyado, Edmond, Mo, Jiezhang, Zhao, Hongzhi, Xiang, Li, Wong, Ming Hung and Liu, Wenhua (2022) Spatial distribution and ecological risks of polychlorinated biphenyls in a river basin affected by traditional and emerging electronic waste recycling in South China. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 243. p. 114010. ISSN 0147-6513

1-s2.0-S0147651322008508-main.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (6MB) | Preview
Official URL:


With development of e-waste related legislation in China, formal recycling activities are designated in some areas while informal ones are illegally transferred to emerging areas to avoid supervision. However, the resulting environmental impact and ecological risks are not clear. Here, we investigated the discharge of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to soil and aquatic environments by e-waste recycling activities in the Lian River Basin, China. The study area included a designated industrial park in the traditional e-waste recycling area (Guiyu, known as the world's largest e-waste center), several emerging informal recycling zones, and their surrounding areas and coastal area. A total of 27 PCBs were analyzed, and the highest concentration was found in an emerging site for soil (354 ng g−1) and in a traditional site for sediment (1350 ng g‐−1) respectively. The pollution levels were significantly higher in both the traditional and emerging recycling areas than in their respective upstream countryside areas (p = 0.0356 and 0.0179, respectively). Source analysis revealed that the traditional and emerging areas had similar PCB sources mainly associated with three PCB technical mixtures manufactured in Japan (KC600) and the USA (Aroclor 1260 and Aroclor 1262). The PCB pollution in their downstream areas including the coastal area was evidently affected by the formal and informal recycling activities through river runoff. The ecological risk assessments showed that PCBs in soils and sediments in the Lian River Basin could cause adverse ecotoxicological consequences to humans and aquatic organisms.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 41676166, 41776174, 42006105, and 41877379) Ministry of Agriculture (Chinese White Dolphin Conservation Action), CNOOC Foundation, Key Special Project for Introduced Talents Team of Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) (grant number GML2019ZD0606), Key Program of Marine Economy Development (Six Marine Industries) Special Foundation of Department of Natural Resources of Guangdong Province (GDNRC[2022]48), and Shantou University Research Start-Up Program (grant number NTF20002).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emerging electronic waste recycling, PCBs spatial distribution, Source apportionment, Fate and transport, Aquatic pollution, Ecological risk assessment
Subjects: F100 Chemistry
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 11:57
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 12:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics