Empirical regression models were developed for estimating concentrations of dieldrin, total chlordane, and total DDT in whole fish from U.S. streams. Models were based on pesticide concentrations measured in whole fish at 648 stream sites nationwide (1992-2001) as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Quality Assessment Program. Explanatory variables included fish lipid content, estimates (or surrogates) representing historical agricultural and urban sources, watershed characteristics, and geographic location. Models were developed using Tobit regression methods appropriate for data with censoring. Typically, the models explain approximately 50 to 70% of the variability in pesticide concentrations measured in whole fish. The models were used to predict pesticide concentrations in whole fish for streams nationwide using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's River Reach File 1 and to estimate the probability that whole-fish concentrations exceed benchmarks for protection of fish-eating wildlife. Predicted concentrations were highest for dieldrin in the Corn Belt, Texas, and scattered urban areas; for total chlordane in the Corn Belt, Texas, the Southeast, and urbanized Northeast; and for total DDT in the Southeast, Texas, California, and urban areas nationwide. The probability of exceeding wildlife benchmarks for dieldrin and chlordane was predicted to be low for most U.S. streams. The probability of exceeding wildlife benchmarks for total DDT is higher but varies depending on the fish taxon and on the benchmark used. Because the models in the present study are based on fish data collected during the 1990s and organochlorine pesticide residues in the environment continue to decline decades after their uses were discontinued, these models may overestimate present-day pesticide concentrations in fish. ?? 2009 SETAC.
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Regression models for explaining and predicting concentrations of organochlorine pesticides in fish from streams in the United States