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Pesticide Residues along the Mississippi River

Majewski, M.S., Foreman, W.T., Goolsby, D.A., and Nakagaki, N.

The occurrence, concentration, and geographical distribution of agricultural pesticides were determined in air over the Mississippi River from New Orleans, LA, to St. Paul, MN, during the first 10 days of June 1994. Air samples were collected from a research vessel by pulling air through polyurethane foam plugs at about 100 L/min for up to 24 h. Each sample was analyzed for 42 pesticides and 3 pesticide transformation products. Twenty-five compounds--15 herbicides, 7 insecticides, and 3 pesticide transformation products--were detected in one or more samples with concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 80 ng/m3. Alachlor, metribuzin, pendimethalin, and trifluralin were detected in 80% or more of the samples. The highest concentrations for chlorpyrifos (1.6 ng/m3), diazinon (0.36 ng/m3), and malathion (4.6 ng/m3) all occurred near major metropolitan areas. These samples represent a "snapshot in time", a spatial and temporal integration of which pesticides were present in the air during each sampling period. The occurrence and atmospheric concentrations of the observed pesticides were most closely related to their use on cropland within 40 km of the river.

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