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Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) have been used worldwide on an enormous scale over the last century but are banned globally due to environmental persistence and ecotoxicity in recent decades. The long-term effects of OCP ban for agricultural use in China since 1983 on the reproductive health of small terrestrial mammals have never been evaluated in the field. We examined the residue dynamics of OCPs and the reproductive performance of Chinese striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis) in North China Plain during 1983-2010 and concluded that the exposure levels of OCPs in hamsters drastically decreased from 2900 ± 740 to 25.2 ± 6.88 ng/g with an average half-life of 5.08 yrs, coinciding with the observed reproductive recovery of hamsters. The population-based reproductive performance of hamsters was significantly and negatively associated with OCP exposure levels after adjusting the contributions from climate and population density factors, indicating that the ban of OCPs has facilitated the reproductive recovery of hamsters by up to 81% contribution. Our findings suggest that the OCP ban is effective to restore reproduction of small terrestrial mammals. Integration of population biology and environmental science is essential to assess the impacts of persistent organic pollutants on ecological safety and biodiversity loss under accelerated global change.


Yuanchen Chen, Chuan Yan, Zhe Sun, Yonghui Wang, Shu Tao, Guofeng Shen, Tongqin Xu, Peixue Zhou, Xiaoping Cao, Fusheng Wang, Shuqing Wang, Shoushen Hao, Hefang Yang, Hongjun Li, Quan Zhang, Weiping Liu, Meirong Zhao, Zhibin Zhang. Organochlorine Pesticide Ban Facilitated Reproductive Recovery of Chinese Striped Hamsters. Environmental science & technology. 2021 May 04;55(9):6140-6149

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PMID: 33797225

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