First report on chlorinated pesticide deposition in a sediment core from a small lake in central Chile

Ricardo Barra, Marco Cisternas, Roberto Urrutia, Karla Pozo, Patricia Pacheco, Oscar Parra, Silvano Focardi

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This paper presents a first report on chlorinated pesticide deposition analyzed through sedimentary records in a small mesotrophic lake (Chica de San Pedro) in central Chile. The sediment core was sliced and dated using 210Pb, 137Cs and pollen analyses. Organochlorine pesticides were analyzed by gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD). From these results, pesticide deposition over the last 50 years was estimated. No pesticides were detected below the 1940 slice of the core. Concentrations were in the range 0.640-1.4 ng/g d.w. for total DDTs, 0.046-0.362 ng/g d.w. for lindane and 0.015-0.310 ng/g d.w. for α-hexachlorohexane. Highest concentrations of pp′DDT were found in 1993-1996 and higher concentrations of pp′-DDE and pp′-DDD were found in the seventies (1972-1978). Total organic carbon (TOC) normalized data were used for statistical analysis. Although significant correlation was observed between concentrations of DDE and DDD, no correlation was found for DDT, suggesting that it had a different source. Factorial analysis grouped DDE together with DDD, while DDT was grouped together with γ- and α-HCH. Total DDT fluxes were highest during the 1970s, while those for HCHs have been increasing in the 1990s. In Chile, organochlorine compounds were banned in 1985, and the historical deposition patterns seem to indicate that such measures have been effective. On the other hand, results point out a relatively new occurrence of pp′-DDT in the watershed, but the source remains unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-757
Number of pages9
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Chile
  • Lake sediments
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • POPs
  • Pollution


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