Fish from Drnový brook in Klatovy contain high concentrations of pesticides unused for a long time

18.7.2006 - Klatovy

Fish in Drnový brook downstream of the former pesticide storage in Klatovy - Luby contain high concentrations of residues of hazardous substances which had been prepared and stored in this storage. However, the expert opinion (1) commissioned by Arnika did not yet confirm unambiguously that the storage was the source of toxic substances found in the fish. "In order to confirm this, further research is necessary, which we intend to commission. In spite of that, we consider high concentrations of lindane (2), hexachlorobenzene (3) and certain DDT metabolites (4) found in fish as a sufficient cause for the Town Authority Klatovy, Regional Authority of the Plzeň Region, and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic to begin to deal with the case of Klatovy - Luby more seriously than before," commented the results of fish analyses published today (5) Jindřich Petrlík, DSc, head of the Toxics Free Future project of the Arnika Association.

Analyses of pesticide contents in six fish caught in Drnový brook this year were carried out by the accredited laboratory Axys Varilab. The final conclusion of the expert opinion of the Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology in Vodňany, prepared on the basis of its analyses, reads: "Analysis of fish caught in Drnový brook in the municipality Klatovy - Luby proved increased contamination of aquatic environment by certain organochlorine pollutants (lindane, p,p-DDE, HCB, p,p-DDD). The increased concentrations of the monitored pollutants may be potentially connected with contamination of the former pesticide storage in the municipality of Klatovy - Luby, however, the source of aquatic environment contamination cannot be unambiguously identified on the basis of analyses carried out as yet. From the point of view of unambiguous identification of the source of contamination of the Drnový brook by allochthonous substances, we recommend to broaden the monitoring carried out until now." (1) Arnika already handed over the expert opinion to representatives of the Czech Fishing Union and also to the mayor of Klatovy.

Václav Rychtařík, whose family obtained the farm buildings in Luby back from the state within the framework of restitution, but with contamination, is not happy about the new results. "However, I hope they will help to cut the vicious circle concerning decontamination of the old environmental burden not caused by my family, which, however, has had to work at it for more than ten years already. Moreover, we live in this environment for the whole time, and this is not exactly a pleasant feeling for us. Recently, a chemical odour may be smelled also in the garden, out of the buildings of the former storage. After this analysis, it is perhaps clearer that not only our health may be concerned," said Václav Rychtařík today.

Arnika hopes that state bodies will do their best in order to decontaminate the storage contaminated by pesticides as soon as possible. Its contamination took place in 1950s to 1990s when the building were used by state companies preparing there pesticides for treatment of agricultural crops in the Klatovy area. The old pesticide storage is on the list of priority environmental burdens of the Plzeň Region, however, the hitherto approach of state administration and self-government to its cleaning is not in accordance with that. Arnika is preparing a plan for the water management authority in order to solve the situation.

(1) Ing. Tomáš Randák, Ph.D., Prof. MVDr. Zdeňka Svobodová, DrSc. (both from the Research Institute of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology in Vodňany): Assessment of levels of organochlorine pesticides and its metabolites in samples of fish caught in Drnový brook in Klatovy - Luby. June 22, 2006.

(2) Lindane - an organochlorine pesticide, formerly manufactured also in the Czech Republic in Spolana Neratovice, which was used here broadly in particular for seed treatment for protection against soil insects. Today, its application to agricultural crops is banned already. Up to now, is has been manufactured in India, Romania and China. Long-term action of lindane is connected with damage to nervous system, human endocrine disruption, and liver enlargement. It can have long-term adverse effects in aquatic environment.

(3) Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) had broad application, either as a pesticide or as a technical substance in various productions. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is manufactured by catalytic chlorination of benzene, or by oxidation of waste hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) from lindane manufacturing. Nowadays, it is not used in the Czech Republic any more, but it is produced as a by-product in chemical industry (for example, in chlorine chemistry or during chlorine bleaching of pulp), and it is also contained in emissions from various combustion processes (for example, waste incineration or in metallurgy). As a fungicide, it was used for treatment of wheat and onion. Its use as a pesticide was banned in 1977. HCB was manufactured in Spolana Neratovaice, and its manufacturing was stopped in 1968. In the case of long-term exposure to hexachlorobenzene, the liver and kidneys may be damaged, and it also shows a negative influence on the functioning of the thyroid gland. It is a possible human carcinogen. For more information, please see this page.

(4) DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) - an insecticide broadly used in the past. It was manufactured, among other places, in Spolana Neratovice. Use of DDT in the former Czechoslovakia was banned in 1974, however, it was used for several more years for example for liquidation of lice, and big stock of it was left in pesticide storages. Values measured in Klatovy - Luby suggest that it was probably stored also there. DDT is a possible human carcinogen. It damages the liver and it may cause its cancer. It causes temporary damage to nervous system. It damages the reproductive system. DDT is on the list of substances banned by the Stockholm Convention ratified also by the Czech Republic.

(5) Results of analyses of six fish (3 roaches, 2 rainbow trout and 1 grayling) caught under the weir in Drnový brook in Klatovy - Luby for the contents of organochlorine pesticides. The stated values are based on analytical protocol of the laboratory Axys Varilab No. 673/2.

TeCB - sum of 1,2,4,5- and 1,2,3,5-isomers (0.3 - 2.6 ng/g of fat)
1,2,3,4-TeCB (0.32 - 2.8 ng/g of fat)
HCB (82.2 – 230 ng/g of fat)
beta-HCH (0.77 – 2.2 ng/g of fat)
gamma-HCH (lindane) (41.2 – 2,100 ng/g of fat)
delta-HCH (1.7 - 8.5 ng/g of fat)
p,p-DDE found out values (1,400 – 6,800 ng/g of fat)
p,p-DDD found out values (380 – 450 ng/g of fat)
p,p-DDT found out values (22,2 – 30,8 ng/g of fat)

In the case of o,p-DDE, o,p-DDD and o,p-DDT, the levels of these substances in fish were below the detection limits of the analytical methods. The used abbreviations: TeCB - tetrachlorobenzene, HCB - hexachlorobenzene, HCH - hexachlorocyclohexane, o,p-, and, optionally, p,p-DDD, DDE and DDT - abbreviations for metabolites of the pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane).


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