Dietary exposure and risk assessment of chlorinated paraffins in roots and rhizomes of traditional Chinese medicine herbs

Huijuan Li, Hui Li, Shishan Zhang, Huizhi Li, Yanfang Zhao, Xiangfeng Chen*, Zongwei Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) provides therapeutic and health care effects through dietary intake. Owing to the susceptibility of plants to contaminations, a risk assessment system is urgently needed to ensure the safe use of TCMs. In this study, the contamination levels and risks associated with the dietary intake of short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) were investigated in six kinds of frequently-used TCM herbs. The concentrations varied from 144.4 to 1527.8 ng·g−1 dw for SCCPs and non-detect to 1214.1 ng·g−1 dw for MCCPs, with mean values of 551.5 and 259.8 ng·g−1 dw, respectively. A geographic distribution analysis indicated that the concentrations of CPs in TCMs were mainly associated with their levels of contamination in the ambient environment. Carbon atom-chlorine congener profiles of CPs were dominated by C10Cl7-8 and C14Cl7-8 congeners, accounting for 20.1% and 32.4% of the total SCCP and MCCP concentrations, respectively. Principal component analysis indicated that the TCM species might be the main factor influencing the accumulation of SCCPs congeners. Finally, a risk assessment reveals that the estimated daily intake and margin of exposure were far below levels that might pose a health risk, indicating an acceptable dietary intake of SCCPs and MCCPs in the studied TCMs. This is the first report of CPs in the TCM herbs and the obtained results are expected to aid in future evaluation of the quality of TCMs and ensuring diet and drug safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80637-80645
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number53
Early online date20 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Geographic distribution
  • Risk assessment
  • Short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins
  • Traditional Chinese medicine


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