Plastic film mulching increased the accumulation and human health risks of phthalate esters in wheat grains.Environ Pollut. 2019 Jul; 250:1-7.EP
Plastic film mulching is a common practice to increase crop yield in dryland, while the wide use of plastic film has resulted in ubiquitous phthalate esters (PAEs) releasing into the soil. PAEs in soil could be taken up and accumulated by dietary intake of food crops such as wheat, thus imposing health risks to residents. In the present study, samples from a long-term location-fixed field experiment were examined to clarify the accumulation of PAEs in soil and wheat, and to assess the human health risks from PAEs via dietary intake of wheat grain under plastic film mulching cultivation in dryland. Results showed that concentrations of PAEs in grains from mulching plots ranged from 4.1 to 12.6 mg kg-1, which were significantly higher than those in the control group. There was a positive correlation for the PAE concentrations between wheat grains and field soils. Concentrations of PAEs in the soil were in the range of 1.8-3.5 mg kg-1 for the mulching treatment, and 0.9-2.7 mg kg-1 for the control group. Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were detected in all soil and grain samples, and DEHP was found to be the dominant PAE compound in grains. Based on DEHP concentrations in wheat grains, the values of carcinogenic risk for adults were higher than the recommended value 10-4. Results indicated that wheat grains from film mulching plots posed a considerable non-carcinogenic risk to residents, with children being the most sensitive resident group. Findings of this work call the attention to the potential pollution of grain crops growing in the plastic film mulching crop production systems.