This is the first assessment of groundwater from public-supply wells across the United States to analyze for >100 pesticide degradates and to provide human-health context for degradates without benchmarks. Samples from 1204 wells in aquifers representing 70% of the volume pumped for drinking supply were analyzed for 109 pesticides (active ingredients) and 116 degradates. Among the 41% of wells where pesticide compounds were detected, nearly two-thirds contained compound mixtures and three-quarters contained degradates. Atrazine, hexazinone, prometon, tebuthiuron, four atrazine degradates, and one metolachlor degradate were each detected in >5% of wells. Detection frequencies were largest for aquifers with more shallow, unconfined wells producing modern-age groundwater. To screen for potential human-health concerns, benchmark quotients (BQs) were calculated by dividing concentrations by the human-health benchmark, when available. For degradates without benchmarks, estimated values (estimated benchmark quotients (BQE)) were first calculated by assuming equimolar toxicity to the most toxic parent; final analysis excluded degradates with likely overestimated toxicity. Six pesticide compounds and 1.6% of wells had concentrations approaching levels of potential concern (individual or summed BQ or BQE values >0.1), and none exceeded these levels (values >1). Therefore, although pesticide compounds occurred frequently, concentrations were low, even accounting for mixtures and degradates without benchmarks.
|Title||Pesticides and pesticide degradates in groundwater used for public supply across the United States: Occurrence and human-health context|
|Authors||Laura M. Bexfield, Kenneth Belitz, Bruce D. Lindsey, Patricia Toccalino, Lisa H. Nowell|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Environmental Science & Technology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||WMA - Earth System Processes Division|