The finding of dieldrin (88 ng/g), DDE (52 ng/g), and heptachlor epoxide (19 ng/g) in earthworms from experimental plots after a single moderate application (9 kg/ha) 45 years earlier attests to the remarkable persistence of these compounds in soil and their continued uptake by soil organisms. Half-lives (with 95 % confidence intervals) in earthworms, estimated from exponential decay equations, were as follows: dieldrin 4.9 (4.3-5.7) years, DDE 5.3 (4.7-6.1) years, and heptachlor epoxide 4.3 (3.8-4.9) years. These half-lives were not significantly different from those estimated after 20 years. Concentration factors (dry weight earthworm tissue/dry weight soil) were initially high and decreased mainly during the first 11 years after application. By the end of the study, average concentration factors were 1.5 (dieldrin), 4.0 (DDE), and 1.8 (heptachlor epoxide), respectively.
Additional publication details
Persistence and changes in bioavailability of dieldrin, DDE and heptachlor epoxide in earthworms over 45 years
Columbia Environmental Research Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center