National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project
Pesticide National Synthesis Project
Pesticides in the Atmosphere
U.S. Geological Survey, Fact Sheet FS-152-95
Current Understanding of Distribution and Major Influences
This report summarizes a comprehensive analysis of existing
information on national and regional patterns of pesticides in
the atmosphere and major influences on their sources and transport.
It is one of a four-part series that synthesizes current
knowledge and understanding of pesticides in water resources of
the nation as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment.
Bibliography of Studies Reviewed - 370 References
- Existing data, gleaned from 132 studies, are unevenly
distributed, with most in the Great Lakes region and
- Most of the pesticides studied have been detected in
rain or air, but many that are used have never been
- Pesticides have been detected in the atmosphere in all
areas of the nation sampled.
- Concentrations of a pesticide in air and rain are most
affected by its use and resistance to environmental
- The highest atmospheric concentrations of pesticides
occur seasonally in high-use areas when applications
- Low levels of long-lived pesticides are present in the
atmosphere throughout the year.
- Atmospheric deposition of pesticides is most likely to
affect stream water quality during runoff events when
precipitation and direct surface runoff are the major
sources of streamflow, but the full significance to
water quality is largely unknown.
Contents of this Report: