In many countries, including Morocco, groundwater contamination with pesticides such as globally banned organochlorides (e.g., dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)) and some accredited organophosphates and pyrethroids poses ecological and human health risks. To assess these risks, we herein monitored pesticides in Saïss plain groundwater (Morocco) during the summer of 2017 and the winter of 2018 using polar organic chemical integrative samplers. The two types of passive samplers were deployed in 22 traditional wells for 14–20 days and subjected to solid-phase extraction. The extracts were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry using a multiresidue method, and 27 pesticides were detected in total. In the summer campaign, 22 pesticides with individual concentrations ranging from <limit of quantitation (LOQ) to 243.1 ng L−1 were identified, whereas 17 compounds with concentrations ranging from <LOQ to 53.8 ng L−1 were detected in the winter campaign. In the summer period, the maximum individual concentrations of chlorothalonil, DDT, and α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH) equaled 111.7, 36.1, and 22.3 ng L−1, respectively, with the respective values for the winter period equaling 18.14, 16.62, and 22.2 ng L−1. Health risk assessment indicated that the carcinogenic α-HCH, β-HCH, DDT, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene present in groundwater may also contaminate drinking water and thus pose a threat to human health, particularly to that of infants and children. Further analysis revealed that the Saïss aquifer presents a high ecological risk. Thus, the monitoring of pesticides in groundwater by passive sampling was effective and could be combined with human health and ecological risk assessment to develop ways of reducing human and environmental exposure to pesticides.


Passive sampler; Human health risk; Ecological risk; Pesticide; Groundwater


ImaneBerniaAzizaMenouniabIbrahimEl GhaziaLodeGodderisbcRadu-CorneliuDucabdSamir ElJaafaria

Cluster of Competency “Health and Environment”, Moulay Ismail University, Meknes, Morocco
Environment and Health Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
IDEWE, External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work, Heverlee, Belgium
Unit Environmental Hygiene and Human Biological Monitoring, Department of Health Protection, National Health Laboratory (LNS), Dudelange, Luxembourg