Pesticide pollution of multiple drinking water sources in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: evidence from two provinces

Chau, N.D.G., Sebesvari, Z., Amelung, W. and Renaud, F.G. (2015) Pesticide pollution of multiple drinking water sources in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam: evidence from two provinces. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(12), pp. 9042-9058. (doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-4034-x) (PMID:25572267)

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Pollution of drinking water sources with agrochemicals is often a major threat to human and ecosystem health in some river deltas, where agricultural production must meet the requirements of national food security or export aspirations. This study was performed to survey the use of different drinking water sources and their pollution with pesticides in order to inform on potential exposure sources to pesticides in rural areas of the Mekong River delta, Vietnam. The field work comprised both household surveys and monitoring of 15 frequently used pesticide active ingredients in different water sources used for drinking (surface water, groundwater, water at public pumping stations, surface water chemically treated at household level, harvested rainwater, and bottled water). Our research also considered the surrounding land use systems as well as the cropping seasons. Improper pesticide storage and waste disposal as well as inadequate personal protection during pesticide handling and application were widespread amongst the interviewed households, with little overall risk awareness for human and environmental health. The results show that despite the local differences in the amount and frequency of pesticides applied, pesticide pollution was ubiquitous. Isoprothiolane (max. concentration 8.49 μg L−1), fenobucarb (max. 2.32 μg L−1), and fipronil (max. 0.41 μg L−1) were detected in almost all analyzed water samples (98 % of all surface samples contained isoprothiolane, for instance). Other pesticides quantified comprised butachlor, pretilachlor, propiconazole, hexaconazole, difenoconazole, cypermethrin, fenoxapro-p-ethyl, tebuconazole, trifloxystrobin, azoxystrobin, quinalphos, and thiamethoxam. Among the studied water sources, concentrations were highest in canal waters. Pesticide concentrations varied with cropping season but did not diminish through the year. Even in harvested rainwater or purchased bottled water, up to 12 different pesticides were detected at concentrations exceeding the European Commission’s parametric guideline values for individual or total pesticides in drinking water (0.1 and 0.5 μg L−1; respectively). The highest total pesticide concentration quantified in bottled water samples was 1.38 μg L−1. Overall, we failed to identify a clean water source in the Mekong Delta with respect to pesticide pollution. It is therefore urgent to understand further and address drinking water-related health risk issues in the region.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Renaud, Professor Fabrice
Authors: Chau, N.D.G., Sebesvari, Z., Amelung, W., and Renaud, F.G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Environmental Science and Pollution Research
ISSN (Online):1614-7499
Published Online:10 January 2015

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