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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2015, Article ID 564189, 8 pages
Research Article

Linking Environmental Exposure with Public Health: Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Extracted from Soils and Water of Recently Exposed Communities of Selected Locations in Zambia

1Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Unit, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Zambia
2Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Received 16 May 2015; Revised 5 August 2015; Accepted 23 August 2015

Academic Editor: Pam R. Factor-Litvak

Copyright © 2015 Nosiku Sipilanyambe Munyinda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. In 2000, a Zambian private mining company reintroduced the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) to control malaria in two districts. From 2000 to 2010, DDT had been applied in homes without any studies conducted to ascertain its fate in the environment. We aimed to quantify the presence of DDT and its metabolites in the soil and water around communities where it was recently used. Methods. We collected superficial soil and water samples from drinking sources of three study areas. DDT was extracted by QuEChERS method and solid phase extraction for soils and water, respectively. Analysis was by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A revalidated method with limits of detection ranging from 0.034 to 0.04 ppb was used. Results. Median levels of total DDT were found at 100.4 (IQR 90.9–110) and 725.4 ng/L (IQR 540–774.5) for soils and water, respectively. No DDT above detection limits was detected in the reference area. These results are clinically significant given the persistent characteristics of DDT. Conclusion. DDT presence in these media suggests possible limitations in the environmental safeguards during IRS. Such occurrence could have potential effects on humans, especially children; hence, there is a need to further examine possible associations between this exposure and humans.