General Directorate of Environmental Management Chemicals Management Department
General Directorate of Environmental Management Chemicals Management Department

The First Long Term Monitoring Study in Turkey

There is no systematic monitoring program on the determination of releases, health risks and emission statements of POPs in Turkey. On the other hand, a study has been initiated under the global passive air monitoring network (MONET) project with the cooperation of Department of Environmental Engineering (Middle East Technical University) and Research Center for Toxic Compounds in the environment (RECETOX, Czech Republic) to identify atmospheric background levels of PCBs, PAHs (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) and OCPs (organochlorine pesticides) in December 2009. Passive air samplers consisting of polyurethane foam disks have been used for the collection of ambient air samples in a rural site named as Çamkoru having an altitude of 1 350 m, 110 km northwest of Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Unfortunately, no data is officially published on background levels of such pollutants, but will be very soon.

Comparison with the other background stations from different parts of the world showed that background concentrations in Turkey were comparable or lower. Results of ongoing POPs monitoring studies in Camkoru, Turkey, as a part of MONET programme can be seen at

Monitoring of Pesticides

POPs residues have been found in the fat of fish and animals, as well as in human breast milk, on a global scale. Some of the highest levels have been recorded in the arctic areas of both hemispheres. Reproductive failures, deformities, malfunctions in fish and wildlife are linked by a growing body of evidence to these persistent pollutants. Often the true extent of the wildlife effects is subtle, and can be triggered at extraordinarily low concentrations.

Pesticide usage in Turkey has started with the use of DDT basically against all kinds of pests in the 1950‟s. Turkey is a land of agriculture, therefore, agricultural pest control is compulsory and the most effective method for agricultural pest and malaria vector control is to use chemicals particularly DDT. A considerable number of synthetic organochlorine pesticides have been produced and offered for usage against pests since the 1940´s. Among these, aldrin, DDT and heptachlor have been used until the 1980‟s, when their usage was prohibited. In Turkey, especially after 1980, primarily the items consumed by humans including fish, mussels and milk have been analyzed for organochlorine insecticide residues and the results have either been published or reported.

The Black Sea Coast, which is located at the north of Turkey, has been highly contaminated due to sea transportation without any restrictions, mineral processing, dumping of toxic wastes, discharging domestic waste and toxic substances, carried by rivers. Pesticide residues were also found in the sea water. Samples, gathered from the coasts of Black Sea were analyzed and 11 types of pesticides such as lindane, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, pp´-DDE, op´-DDE, op´-DDD, op´-DDT and pp´-DDT are found. Some of the chlorine compounds are found at concentrations lower than the limit of detection. High flowrate rivers are found out to contain heptachlor and aldrin lower than the limit of detection.

Sakarya River is the biggest source of pollution since the pollutant load is relatively high, which is expected since its drainage basin is located in Northwest where fertile plains are mostly present. The other two rivers that are following the Sakarya River as a major source of pollution are Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak. Even though these rivers have high flowrates, their drainage area is located in dense agricultural lands therefore; the pollutants carried by the rivers are significant.

Organochlorine pesticide residues of the more commonly used compounds were detected in natural fresh water bodies in Central Anatolia. A total of 13 organochlorine pesticides and their residues have been determined in water and sediment in Tuz Lake Hirfanlı Dam Lake, Eşmekaya Lake, Tersakan Lake and Bolluk Lake. In Tuz Lake, Hirfanlı Dam Lake, EĢmekaya Lake, Tersakan Lake, and OC pesticide residues (especially alpha-HCH, beta-HCH, aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide and DDT metabolites op-DDT, pp-DDT, pp-DDD) in water and sediment samples 135 were generally higher than in other lakes, because they are located in wide agricultural areas.

The analyses were carried out in samples of various soils from different parts in Göksu Delta. As a result of the study, 13 OC pesticides and their residues were detected in various parts of Göksu Delta. OC concentrations in soil samples from agricultural areas were generally higher than in water and sediment. HCH, aldrin, heptachlor, op´-DDT, op´-DDD, and pp´-DDE were detected at high levels in soil samples [98]

PCB Monitoring Activities

There is no systematic monitoring program on the determination of releases, health risks and emission statements of PCBs in Turkey as was mentioned in the beginning of this chapter. . Therefore, information on the releases, health risks and emission statements of PCBs in Turkey was reviewed from scientific literature and provided below. All studies yielding information on PCB pollution are presented in table format. The variety in the use of concentration basis for PCBs (wet weight, lipid, WHO-TEQ g-1 wet weight or lipid) makes it difficult to compare results. Moreover, the trend analysis on PCB occurrence and distribution would be limited due to the nature of data having no systematic background.

PCBs in Environmental Medium

The most remarkable finding indicates the presence of a significant amount of PCB pollution in the transformer maintenance and repair facility belonging to the Turkish Electricity Distribution Corporation in Ankara. Historically, transformers were brought to this facility from many power plants around Turkey, to be opened for repair and/or change of the insulating oil. Leakage to the environment due to poor waste management practices and storage conditions lead this region to be affected. However, further studies in the vicinity of the region, for example Lake Eymir does not show very high concentrations of PCBs. Since higher chlorinated PCBs are less likely to be transported over long distances due to their low volatility, although the result indicated the presence of PCBs due to the transformer repair facility, surficial sediments did not yield significant concentrations. On the other hand, studies on gas and particle phase concentrations of atmospheric PCBs in urban/industrial sites suggested that local sources mainly contribute to PCB pollution.

uPOPs Monitoring Activities

Some studies especially in industrial regions concerning estimated levels of PCDDs/Fs are done in Turkey. It can be seen that these estimates are considered to be high for the country. However, the number of samples and their representativeness is inadequate to reach a conclusion. Therefore, a more comprehensive research should be done in order to reach accurate results. As the pathway of exposure is generally via digestion, food samples should be analyzed thoroughly to make further comments on the issue. Concerning to the measurements and monitoring of pocyclic aromatic hydrocarbonts, a lot of studies was realized in Turkey during last years.

PBDE Monitoring Activities

There is no data on the amount of PBDEs used in Turkey. However, studies conducted in Turkey reports PBDEs in environmental compartments including air, biota, mother’s milk, window dust films, indoor air and indoor dust.

PBDEs in mother’s milk measurements are mainly conducted in Konya and Kahramanmaraş and 45 and 37 samples are taken respectively. According to the results it can be seen that PBDE levels are higher in mothers in Konya than that of the ones in Kahramanmaraş.

For the window film dust the highest concentration detected is in the industrial regions and it was seen that in the house dust samples the c-DecaBDE is the most abundant PBDE among others. This could be because that c-DecaBDE is used as an additive used in textiles and consumer products like carpets and the samples are taken from the surface of the carpets and other soft surfaces. Every house dust taken has shown that c-pentaBDE is present as PUR Foam contains c-pentaBDE as a flame retardant. These studies require further research in order to come up with a conclusion.

(Reference: National Implementation Plan)