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Deposition and accumulation of airborne organic contaminants in Yosemite National Park, Calfornia

May 31, 2012

Deposition and accumulation of airborne organic contaminants in Yosemite National Park were examined by sampling atmospheric deposition, lichen, zooplankton, and lake sediment at different elevations. Passive samplers were deployed in high‐elevation lakes to estimate surface‐water concentrations. Detected compounds included current‐use pesticides chlorpyrifos, dacthal, and endosulfans and legacy compounds chlordane, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane‐related compounds, dieldrin, hexachlorobenzene, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Concentrations in snow were similar among sites and showed little variation with elevation. Endosulfan concentrations in summer rain appeared to coincide with application rates in the San Joaquin Valley. More than 70% of annual pesticide inputs from atmospheric deposition occurred during the winter, largely because most precipitation falls as snow. Endosulfan and chlordane concentrations in lichen increased with elevation, indicating that mountain cold‐trapping might be an important control on accumulation of these compounds. By contrast, chlorpyrifos concentrations were inversely correlated with elevation, indicating that distance from source areas was the dominant control. Sediment concentrations were inversely correlated with elevation, possibly because of the organic carbon content of sediments but also perhaps the greater mobility of organic contaminants at lower elevations. Surface‐water concentrations inferred from passive samplers were at sub–parts‐per‐trillion concentrations, indicating minimal exposure to aquatic organisms from the water column. Concentrations in sediment generally were low, except for dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane in Tenaya Lake, which exceeded sediment guidelines for protection of benthic organisms.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Deposition and accumulation of airborne organic contaminants in Yosemite National Park, Calfornia
DOI 10.1002/etc.1727
Authors Alisa M. Mast, David A. Alvarez, Steven D. Zaugg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Series Number
Index ID 70037871
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Colorado Water Science Center