Global trends and diversity in pentachlorophenol levels in the environment and in humans: A meta-analysis

Weiwei Zheng, Xia Wang, Huan Yu, Xuguang Tao, Ying Zhou, Weidong Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pentachlorophenol (PCP) was banned or restricted in many countries worldwide because of its adverse effects on the ecological environment and humans. However, the endocrine disrupting effects caused by low environmental PCP exposure levels has warranted more analysis. We reviewed 80 studies conducted in 21 countries and published between 1967 and 2010, using meta-regression analysis to examine the time trends and regional differences in PCP levels. The results suggested that in indoor air, bodies of water, freshwater sediments in western countries, invertebrates and freshwater vertebrates, PCP levels had declined over time, with half-lives ranging from 2.0 years to 11.1 years. However, in marine sediments/vertebrates and Chinese surface water/sediments, PCP levels increased over time. PCP levels in human blood and urine had decreased since the 1970s, with population half-lives of 3.6 years and 5.7 years, respectively. The intervals for global population blood and urine reference values decreased to 1.1-6.3 μg/L (2002-2008) and 2.5-7 μg/L (1995-2003), respectively. The possible thyroid disrupting effects and other health risks correlated with low environmental PCP exposure should be concerning. This study can help to ascertain the effects of the banning/restriction policy, providing data for cost-benefit analysis in policy-making and further control of health risks caused by low environmental exposure to PCP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4668-4675
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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