EARTH Thailand

POPs contamination at ‘recycling’ and metallurgical site in Thailand

Authors: Teebthaisong A1, Petrlik J2,3, Ritthichat A1, Saetang P1, Strakova J3

This study evaluates the results of the analyses for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the free-range chicken eggs in a vicinity of the artisanal recycling workshops in Samut Sakhon, a neighbouring province of Bangkok, Thailand. Free-range chicken eggs were used for monitoring levels of POPs contamination at certain places in many previous studies1-7. Eggs have been found to be sensitive indicators of POPs contamination in soils or dust and are an important exposure pathway from soil pollution to humans. Thus eggs from contaminated areas can significantly lead to POPs exposures that exceed thresholds for the protection of human health7-10.

Chickens and eggs might, therefore, be ideal ‘active samplers’ and indicator species for evaluation of the POPs contamination level of sampled areas, particularly by polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)7. Based on this assumption, the free-range chicken eggs were collected in February 2015 and used in this study as one of the monitoring tools, to analyze for the selected POPs, i.e. PCDD/Fs, PCBs, polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PBDD/Fs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). This study discovers serious contamination within the food chain by various POPs in Samut Sakhon and the level of these chemicals measured in the eggs is the second highest level ever measured in chicken eggs globally7. We also looked at levels of POPs found in other environment compartments sampled in Samut Sakhon in addition to free-range chicken eggs.

The data and analysis of free-range chicken eggs was also already summarized in broader context of samples from other industrial hot spots in Thailand11, as well as POPs found in samples of soils, sediments and biota from the same sites12 within the joint EARTH and Arnika project ‘‘Increasing Transparency in Industrial Pollution Management through Citizen Science’’.[1]

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[1] Further information about the project can be found at or


1 Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH), Nonthaburi, Thailand, TH-11000;

2 IPEN, Göteborg, Sweden, SE-4035;

3 Arnika – Toxics and Waste Programme, Prague, Czech Republic, CZ-17000