Occurrence and concentration of persistent organic pollutants in soil from El Paso del Norte

Roberto De la Torre Roche, University of Texas at El Paso


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a group of toxic compounds that persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in the food chain, and can be transported over long distances. Most POPs are of anthropogenic origin and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. El Paso area provides a unique environment for research. This region shares common environmental problems with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Though several POPs were found in the Rio Grande, no research has been conducted to study the contamination level of POPs in the region. Our study is aimed for the first comprehensive study of the occurrence and concentration of POPs in the Paso del Norte region. A new extraction technique, which is known as stir bar sorptive extraction (SBSE), followed by gas chromatography with a mass selective detector (GC/MS), was used for determining POPs in environmental soil samples. SBSE is a powerful technique for the extraction and analysis of semi-volatile and volatile compounds in various environmental samples. After extraction process, the stir bar is placed in a thermal desorption unit (TDU), thermally desorbed and injected directly into the GC/MS. An analytical method using SBSE followed by TDU/GC/MS was developed to extract POPs from soil samples for this study. Occurrence and concentration of selected organochlorine pesticides and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the soil collected from El Paso were determined.

Subject Area

Environmental science|Analytical chemistry|Systems science

Recommended Citation

De la Torre Roche, Roberto, "Occurrence and concentration of persistent organic pollutants in soil from El Paso del Norte" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1423735.