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Natural transformation of chlordecone into 5b-hydrochlordecone in French West Indies soils: statistical evidence for investigating long-term persistence of organic pollutants

Abstract : Chlordecone (CLD) was an organochlorine insecticide whose previous use resulted in an extensive pollution of the environment with severe health effects and social consequences. A closely related compound, 5b-hydrochlordecone (5b-hydroCLD), has been searched for and often detected in environmental matrices from the geographical area where CLD was applied. The current consensus considered that its presence was not the result of a biotic or abiotic dechlorination of CLD in these matrices but rather the consequence of its presence as impurity (synthesis by-product) in the CLD released into the environment. The aim of the present study was to determine if and to what extent degradation of CLD into 5b-hydroCLD occurred in the field. To test this hypothesis, the ratios of 5b-hydroCLD and CLD concentrations in a dataset of 810 soils collected between 2006 and 2012 in Martinique were compared to the ratios measured in 3 samples of the CLD dust commercial formulations applied in the banana fields of French West Indies (FWI) and 1 sample of the technical-grade CLD corresponding to the active ingredient used in such formulations. Soil data were processed with a hierarchical Bayesian model to account for random measurement errors and data censoring. Any pathway of CLD transformation into 5b-hydroCLD occurring over the long term in FWI soils would indeed change the ratio of 5b-hydroCLD/CLD compared to what it was in the initially applied formulations. Results showed a significant increase of the 5b-hydroCLD/CLD ratio in the soils-25 times greater in soil than in commercial formulations-which suggested that natural CLD transformation into 5b-hydroCLD over the long term occurred in these soils. Results from this study may impact future decisions for the remediation of the polluted areas.
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Damien A. Devault, Christophe Laplanche, Hélène Pascaline, Sébastien Bristeau, Christophe Mouvet, et al.. Natural transformation of chlordecone into 5b-hydrochlordecone in French West Indies soils: statistical evidence for investigating long-term persistence of organic pollutants. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2016, vol. 23 (n° 1), pp. 81-97. ⟨10.1007/s11356-015-4865-0⟩. ⟨hal-01347150⟩

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